Savitri begs Yama for Satyavan's life.
|Also called||Savitri Osha|
|Observed by||Odia people, Maithil women|
|Date||Jestha on Amavasya|
|2015 date||17 May|
|Related to||Savitri and Satyavan|
Savitri Vrata (Nepali: सावित्री ब्रत), (Odia: ସାବିତ୍ରୀ ଓଷା or ସାବିତ୍ରୀ ବ୍ରତ) or Savitri Amavasya (Odia: ସାବିତ୍ରୀ ଅମାବାସ୍ୟା) is a fasting day observed by married Hindu Odia and Maithil women of Nepalese Mithila and India on the Amavasya, the no moon day in the Bikram Sambat month of Jestha. It is also known as Sabitri Uwaans in Western Odisha region.
Married Hindu women, whose husbands are alive, observe it as a vow with great dedication and pray for their husband to have a long life. The word reflects the origin and significance of the Vat-Savitri puja. The fast is dedicated to Savitri and Satyavan; her husband who was destined to die within one year but was brought back to life by her penance. The God of death, Yama, is implored by Savitri when he is about to leave his body. Due to her sheer determination and devotion to her husband, she won him back to life. Soon Satyavan regained his lost kingdom.
Legend behind the festival
The vrata was named after Savitri. Savitri was the beautiful daughter of King Aswapati of Madra Desa. She selected Satyavan as her life partner, a prince in exile who was living in the forest with his blind father Dyumatsen. She left the palace and lived with her husband and the in-laws in the forest. As a devoted wife and daughter-in-law, she went to great lengths to take care of them. One day while cutting wood in the jungle, Satyavan's head reeled and he fell down from a tree. Then Yamraj, the death God, appeared to take away Satyavan's soul. Deeply hurt, Savitri pleaded to Yamraj not to be separated from her husband. If anything, he would take away the soul of her husband and she would also follow. Yamraj, moved by the devotion of Savitri, returned the life of her husband.
Customs and rituals
All Hindu women observe this festival by worshiping and propitiating Savitri as a Devi. In the early morning, women take purifying baths, wear new clothes and bangles, and apply vermilion to their foreheads. Nine types of fruits and nine types of flowers are offered to the Goddess. Wet pulses, rice, mangos, jackfruits, palm fruits, kendu, bananas and several other fruits are offered as Bhoga (offering) and observe the festival with Savitri brata katha. After fasting for the whole day, the fasting women take the Bhoga and wash feet of their respective husbands with water and have the same water in order to break their fasting. It is believed that ritual is incomplete if fasting woman doesn't take their husband's feet washed water. In the afternoon, when formalities of worship are over, they bow to their respective husbands and elderly people.