Vat Savitri Vrat
Vat Savitri Vrat is one of the festivals that is celebrated by married women for the long and happy life of their husbands. This festival is celebrated on different days in northern India and in the Southern parts of India. As per the Purnimant calendar that is followed in North India, this festival concurs with Shani Jayanti or the birth anniversary of Shani Dev, i.e. on the Amavasya of the Hindu Lunisolar month of Jyestha. However, according to the Amavasyant calendar, Vat Savitri Vrat is observed on the Purnima or the Full Moon day of Jyestha month.
Significance of Vat Savitri Vrat
Vat Savitri Vrat has a great significance as it is associated with marital bliss, which is the dream of every married woman. The longevity of the husband is the priority of every married woman and she does every possible thing for the health and happiness of her husband. Fasting is one of these things, which has religious as well as psychological importance.
Women fast on this day and pray for the long life of their husbands. They pay respect to Savitri, who fought with Yam, theGod of death for the life of her husband Satyawan. They worship the Banyan tree as well and tie a thread around its trunk. It is believed that a Banyan tree protected the dead body of Satyawan while Savitri was following Yama for the restoration of life in the dead body. That is why the Banyan tree is given respect and is worshipped by the women who fast on this day.
Legend Associated with Vat Savitri Vrat
The King of Madra had no child so he worshipped Goddess Savitri and performed Yajna. With the blessings of Goddess Savitri, the King was blessed with a beautiful daughter, whom he named Savitri.
Savitri grew up into a beautiful woman and she fell in love with the princes of Salva. Both parents agreed to their wedding. Both the families were very happy but the happiness of both the bride and the groom along with their families got shattered when Sage Narad told everyone that Satyawan will die twelve years after his marriage. Soon Savitri left the Kingdom along with her family and started living in a forest. She used to pray a lot and started fasting for the long life of her husband, on a fateful day, Yama took away the life of Satyawan and his body stay dead at the base of a Banyan tree. Savitri used to pray under that Banyan tree, so the Banyan tree protected the dead body of Satyawan by wrapping it with its secondary branches while Savitri followed Yama for the life of her husband.
Yama was very impressed with her devotion and dedication towards her husband, so he asked Savitri for a boon. She asked for the eyesight of her blind parents-in-law. Yama told Savitri to go back, but she still followed him. He asked her again for a boon and she asked for reinstating her father-in-law as the king of his kingdom. Yama was very pleased with Savitri for her love and respect towards her family. Savitri still followed Yama. Yama told Savitri to go back as nothing could happen, but Savitri insisted on following her husband.
Yama told her to ask for another boon and then return. She told Yama that she was a devout wife of her husband. If Yama is asking her for another boon, then she would like to give birth to hundred sons of Satyawan. Yama got struck but he had to bless Savitri with the third boon, so he gave back the life of Satyawan and blessed Savitri that she would be worshipped by the women for her devotion and love for her husband.
Rituals followed on Vat Savitri Vrat
Women wake up early in the morning and take their holy bath. They wear new clothes and take a vow to fast for the long and healthy life of their husbands. They then collect the articles of puja and go to the Banyan tree. They clean the place around the Vat and sit there in a circle. They tell Vrat Katha and tie the thread around the trunk and wish for the long life of their husbands. The fast is completed in the evening and they take prasad.