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Festivals - Vata Purnima
A highly auspicious festival, Vata Purnima, also known as Vata Savitri Purnima or Jyeshta Purnima, is celebrated by married women to prolong their husbands’ health and lead a happy married life. This famous festival is commemorated by the Hindus throughout India and abroad where Hindus reside. The festival is dedicated to Sati Savitri and Goddess Gauri. On this religious occasion, married women observe a vrat, or fast, on the full moon day during the month of Jyestha as per the Hindu calendar. Though more popular in Gujarat and Maharashtra, the Vata Savitri Purnima vrat is also observed in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Orissa. The fast is referred to as Karadaiyan Nonbu is South Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Get to know more about this devout ritual.

How To Observe Vat Savitri Vrat
Vat Savitri Vrat is observed across three days and begins on the Trayodashi day and ends on the Purnima. The fast is observed for three days and three nights, thereby ending on the morning of the fourth day. After completing the morning activities, married women apply a paste of amla (Indian gooseberry) and gingli (sesamum). They then take a ritual bath. The roots of Vata Vriksha (banyan tree) are then eaten along with water. For the next three days, most women continue eating this. Prayers are offered to the banyan tree and a red or yellow colored thread is tied around it. As part of the puja, water, rice and flowers and offered to the tree. Women then move around the tree chanting prayers.

According to Hindu mythology, the banyan tree signifies the Trimurtis - Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. That is, Brahma is the root, Vishnu the stem and Shiva the upper portion. Alternately, the complete tree is considered to be Savitri. Back at home, women engage in making paintings of the banyan tree on a plate or wood with the help of sandalwood or turmeric paste. For the next three days, this painting is worshipped and special traditional dishes are also prepared. This schedule continues for the next three days on Trayodashi, Chatrudashi and Amavasi or Purnima.

On the fourth day, married women wake up early in the morning and take a pacificatory bath. They then put on new clothes, new bangles and apply Sindoor, or vermillion, on their forehead and hair-parting line. Prayers are offered to Savitri. As part of the Bhoga (offering), wet pulses, rice, mango, jack fruit, lemon, banana and other fruits are offered. Women break their fast by eating this Bhoga. After completing the rituals and formalities of worship, they take the blessings of their respective husbands and elder members of the family by bowing low to their feet. Special delicacies are also prepared on this day which are then consumed by the family and distributed to friends and relatives as well. However, most people distribute food, clothes and money to the deprived during the entire Vat Savitri.
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