The Vat Satvitri day falls on Purnima (full moon day) in the month of Jyeshta (May-June). The Vat Savitri festival is not exactly a festival but it is a day that is observed as holy by married women. Banyan tree (vat) and Savitri form the main objects of worship. The Puranas narrate the story of Savitri, who had lost Satyavaan, her husband. The worship of banyan tree comes in probably because when the moment of death approached Satyavaan took shelter under the shade of this tree.
Savitri was a deified heroine who is believed to have reclaimed her husband from god of death (Yama) by her devotion and loyalty. Even before her marriage, she was well aware that she would lose her husband a year after marriage. When Savitri saw Yama (God of Death) taking away her husband`s soul, she followed him, pleading him to return her husband`s life. In the face of her resolve to attain what appeared to be an insurmountable obstacle, all of Yama`s efforts were in vain. Then, with added persuasion, the Yama offered her three boons in lieu of her husband`s life. Savitri was a woman of remarkable intelligence, grit and determination. She hid her requests for the boons in such a manner that she got back everything that her family had lost. Yama, defeated by her strength, love and faith, had to surrender to Savitri`s sincere love and devotion.
Puja day is a fasting day for married women. Women make a promise to perform Savitri Vrata for securing the long life and health of their husband, thus on this Vat Savitri day, married women for the health and longevity of their husbands perform community worship. Women bathe early in the morning on the Vat Savitri day. Then, they gather at the nearest Vat (banyan) tree to offer their prayers. The Banyan tree is worshipped with incense flower and rice. After this, women circumambulate the tree and tie the sacred thread to the banyan tree. They bless each other for long and happy conjugal lives. After returning home, women draw a Banyan tree using a paste made of turmeric and sandalwood. They sit near the drawing and pray.
After this, they eat the roots of Vat Vriksha (Banyan tree) along with water. In the roots of the Banyan Tree lies Brahma, in the stem/ barks lay Janardan and in the above portion lies Shiva and in totality lies Devi Savitri. After worshipping Vat, every woman worships the other woman whose husband is alive. They apply Sindoor & Kumkum to these women. To accomplish this vow in totality women offer clothes, fruits, Sindoor kumkum etc in a copper vessel to a Brahmin.
Vat Savitri festival is celebrated throughout India, especially in states like Maharashtra
, Uttar Pradesh
, Delhi and Orissa