Vat Savitri Puja or Vat Savithri vrat is an auspicious day in Hinduism when married women observe fast and pray for their husband's health and longevity. The fasting is named after Savitri, who brought back her husband from the clutches of Yama (death). One of the important rituals of the day is tying threads on Vat (banyan) tree. In 2012, the date of Vat Savitri Purnima puja is on June 4. Those observing it on Amavasi day it is on May 20, 2012 - Vat Amavasi.
The fasting is observed for three days and begins two days prior to purnima or amavasi in the Hindu month of Jyeshtha (June – July).
The fasting takes its name from Vat Vriksha (Banyan Tree) and Savitri. The Banayan Tree is symbolically represented as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The root of Vat Vriksha is Brahma, the stem is Vishnu and the upper part is Shiva. On the puja day, the Banyan tree also symbolically represents Savitri and the incident mentioned in the Mahabharata.
Legend has it that Princess Savitri, the daughter of King Ashwapati of
, fell in love with Satyavan, a woodcutter. But Satyavan was destined to die within a year and Savitri was made aware of this fact by Rishi Narada. But Savitri decided to get married to Satyavan and live with him in the forest. Bhadra Kingdom
As predicted, Satyavan fell from a tree and died within a year. Yamraj, the god of death, arrived to carry him away. Savitri made it clear to Yamraj that she will follow Yamraj along with her husband. Yamraj tried several ways to deter Savitri from following him but all his efforts were in vain and Savitri remained adamant.
Finally, Yamraj was moved by Savitri’s devotion and he brought back Satyavan to life.
It is believed that Satyavan spend his last moments under a Vat or Banyan tree on the full moon day in month of Jyeshtha. And Yamraj appeared here and Savitri pleaded with Yamraj under the Banyan tree. In memory of this event, women go round the Banyan tree for 108 times tying threads and fast for the health and longevity of their husbands.
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