New Delhi: The auspicious festival of Vat Savitri Vrat (fast) is observed this year on May 22. On this day, married women keep a fast for their husbands and pray for their long life and good health. It is observed on the Amavasya tithi (the no moon night) in the Jyeshtha month as per the Hindu Purnimanta calendar followed in North India. The day is dedicated to Savitri, who fought Yama – the god of death to bring back her dead husband Satyavan and eventually succeeded.
On Vat Savitri Vrat, married women observe fast and pray for the well-being of their husbands. In South India, the same vrat is observed on Purnima (Full Moon Day) in the same month according to the Amanta calendar.
Vat Savitri Amavasya Muhurat:
Vat Savitri Amavasya on Friday, May 22, 2020
Vat Savitri Purnima Vrat on Friday, June 5, 2020 (In Southern states)
Amavasya Tithi Begins – 09:35 PM on May 21, 2020
Amavasya Tithi Ends – 11:08 PM on May 22, 2020
(as per drikpanchang.com)
A childless Royal couple Aswapati and Malavi worshipped Lord Savitra to seek his blessings. They were blessed with a daughter and she was named Savitri.
She grew up to be a very beautiful woman and was given the liberty to marry a man of her choice. She chose Satyavan. Sage Narada informs her father that she has chosen the best man but he is not suitable for her because he is short-lived. Even after learning about Satyavan’s short life-span, Savitri decides to marry him.
Three days before his predicted end, Savitri decides to do penance by fasting. Three days later, as predicted, Satyavan breathes his last. He falls on Savitri’s lap while cutting wood in the forest where they had been living for long. Savitri places his lifeless body under a banyan tree and starts worshipping to get her husband’s life back.
Lord Yama emerges to take his soul but Savitri stops him. On seeing him, she heaps praise on him and appreciates him for upholding Dharma. Impressed by her words, Yama decides to grant her a boon stating that she ask for anything but the life of Satyavan.
She asks for three boons -1) eye-sight of her father-in-law Dyumatsen 2) many more children for her father 3) and a hundred children for her and Satyavan.
Lord Yama lands in a dilemma and gets confused by her wish. He grants another boon but fails to specify that she can’t ask for Satyavan’s life.
Savitri quickly asks for Satyavan’s life and looking at her devotion, Lord Yama restores it. She is hailed for winning her husband’s life back from the hands of Lord Yama.
Hence married women observe this fast to recall Savitri’s determination and thereby pray for their husband’s well-being.
The essential items are very important for the puja to be considered complete. For the puja, 5 fruits (at some places it may 9 types of fruits and flowers offered to the goddess) yellow and red thread, a Kalash with water, incense stick, sindoor (vermilion), a piece of red cloth and last but not the least, idols of Savitri, Satyavan and Lord Yama made of clay.
The Puja Vidhi may differ from region-to-region.
After waking up early in the morning and taking a bath, women wear fresh clothes and get ready by doing solah shringar (applying sindoor, wearing bindi, bangles etc).
Collect all the puja ingredients and place them on a tray or a basket made of cane.
Visit a place that has a Banyan tree (Vat Vrishka).
Then place the idol Satyavan and Savitri to the left at the bottom of the tree’s trunk. Leave some space and play the idol of Lord Yama to Satyavan’s right.
Offer water, five fruits or 9 (depending upon your customs), incense stick, red cloth and vermilion to the idols. Then start circumambulating the tree and do as many parikramas as possible – 11, 21, 51 or 108 times while winding the yellow and red thread around the tree’s trunk.
Then listen to the legend of Savitri and Satyavan (the Katha is an integral part of the puja and mandatory too). After going home, the fruits offered as prasad can be consumed. Later in the evening, one can consume sweets.
After this, women seek the blessings of the Lord and pray to goddess Savitri for the well-being of their spouses. The women who observe this fast also pay obeisance to the elderly in their family and husbands, seeking their aashirwad (blessings).