Vat Savitri Puja is observed by the married women, who worship Savitri-Satyvan and the Vat (banyan) tree. This festival is celebrated in the Jyestha month (May-June) on the Amavasa (no moon day) or Purnima (full moon day) according to the Purnimata or Amanta calendar respectively. The importance of banyan tree is this festival is incredible.
The Importance of Banyan Tree
The worship of the banyan tree holds great significance in the Hindu religion. The importance of the Banyan tree in Vat Savitripooja is that, according to the Hindu scriptures, the banyan tree holds the essence of the three great Gods of the Hindu mythology that is Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.
The roots of the tree represent Brahma, the stem of the Vat Vriksha represents Vishnu and Lord Shiva represents the upper part of the Banyan tree and the complete tree is considered to be Savitri. The importance of the Banyan tree is that, It is a popularly believed that by performing all the rituals of the puja below this scared tree, all the desires of the devotees are fulfilled.
It is popularly believed that just as Savitri got back her husband, Satyavan from the clutches of death by her dedication, married women who observed this auspicious fast would be blessed with a happy married life. On the purnima, in the month of Jyestha, the idols of Savitri-Satyava and Yamraj riding a buffalo, made from god or mud, are brought by the devotees and these are then worshipped with incense-sandal, vermillion, saffron and fruits.
A Three day fast is observed on Trayodashi, Chaturdashi or Amavasi or Purnima and on the fourth day after a ritual bath early in the morning, the married women dress up as brides , apply vermillion on their foreheads and hair parting line and then offer water, rice and flowers to the sacred Vat Vriksha or banyan tree.
They the tie yellow or red coloured threads around the trunk of the tree, sprinkle vermillion or Sindoor on it and move around the tree chanting prayers. Prayers are also offered to Savitri, who is worshipped as a deity. Women break their fast by having the bhog, which comprises of wet pulses, mango, jack fruits, rice, banana and lemon. During this festival special dishes are also prepared for the other members of the family.