VATA SAVITRI:

        The fast to Vata Savitri is observed generally on the 13th day of the dark fortnight of Jyaishtha, but at some places it is also observed on Jyaishtha Purnima. It is meant only for the married women. The Hindu married women observe this fast for the sake of longevity and well being of their husbands.

        The story of Savitri and Satyavan is well known. According to the scriptures, Savitri, the daughter of King Aswapati, was the lover of Satyavan, whom she married; though a seer warned her that Satyavan had only one year to live. On the fateful day Satyavan went out to cut wood and Savitri followed him like his shadow. As fate would have it, Satyavan fell, dying to the earth, and, as the supported him, she saw a figure, who told her that he was Yama and had come to fetch her husbandís soul. Yama carried off his soul towards his abode of death, but Savitri followed him. Her devotion so pleased Yama, the god of death, that he had to finally restore her husbandís life.

        Vata is sacred tree among the Hindus. When Satyavan died Savitri had worshipped the Vata (Banyan tree). So, on Vata Savitri day women get up early in the morning and having bathed they go to worship the Vata in-groups wearing gay raiments. They ceremonially water the tree, sprinkle red powder on it, wraps raw cotton threads round its trunk, and then they go round it seven times, which is called the parikrama.

        On returning home they paint a Vata on the sanctified wall with turmeric powder and sandal and worship it. After breaking the fast, fruits, clothes and such other articles are given in charity in a bamboo basket to the Brahmins. They tell the story of Satyavan-Savitri among themselves and pry for the prosperity and good health of their husbands.