Savitri Puja is arguably one of the most important Hindu festivals. Also known as Vat Savitri Purnin, this holiday is very similar to Vat Savitri Vrat. This is a day that is dedicated to Devi Savitri, a woman who compelled Yama Raj (the Lord of Death) to release Satyawan, her dead husband, and give him a new life. This is a day when women fast and pray for their husband’s long life and good health.
On this day, women also worship the Banyan tree and read the Vrat Katha. In the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Haryana, this holiday is observed on Jyeshtha Amavasya, while women in Gujarat, Maharashtra, and other southern Indian states mark this day on Purnima.
The History Of Savitri Puja
The legend of Savitri goes back to the age o Mahabharata. According to this story, King Asvapati and his consort Malavi wanted to have a son. To facilitate this they made many prayers. The god Savitr finally appeared to them and informs them that they will have a daughter. Although they wanted a son, they were still overjoyed at the prospect of having a child. When she was born, they named her Savitri in honor of the god that answered their prayers.
Because Savitri became a woman so pure and beautiful, many of the men in her village were intimidated by her. This is when her father tells her that she must find a husband of her own. She departs on a pilgrimage to find a husband and this is when she runs into Satyavan. He was the son of a blind king named Dyumatsena and lived in exile.
Savitri returns to her father to deliver the news that she had found her future husband, but her father had been consulted with the sage Narada. When she tells him the news, he tells he she has made a bad choice because the sage had told him that Satyavan was destined to die in one year. Undeterred, Savitri married Satyavan anyway.
Approximately 3 days before her husband’s foreseen death, Savitri begins fasting and holding vigil. On the day of his death, Satyavan was cutting wood when he became weak and died in her arms. Savitri then took his body to the shade of a Banyan Tree (known as a Vat) and the God of Death Yama comes to claim Satyavan’s soul. Savitri follows and offers him praise.
Content with the quality of her words, Yama offers her any boon she wants, except for the life of her husband. She then proceeded to ask for a hundred children for herself and Satyavan. Since he couldn’t grant the wish without granting Satyavan his life, he decided to do so. Satyavan awakens and they live out their lives happily with one another.
Savitri Puja Observations
It’s typical on this day for women to fast, make offerings of water to Banyan Trees, and by tying a colored thread around the tree. It’s also a day when works of charity are performed, and money, food, and clothes are given to the needy.