Cuttack: One of the most important religious festivals of Odisha is Sabitri Brata observed by married Odia women all across the state. They keep fast on this day and offer prayers to Lakshmi Narayan and Maa Sabitri, seeking sound health and long life for their husbands. It is also known as Sabitri Uwaans in the western part of Odisha and “Vat Savitri Puja” in some other states.
There are several fasts such as Karva Chauth, Hartalika Teej, Mangla Gauri, Ashunya Shayan and Sawan Somwar that are performed by married women across the country for their husbands’ long life.
The Brata is observed on the day of Amavasya in the Odia month of Jyestha. On this day, women worship Savitri for saving their husbands from Yamraj, the Lord of Death.
The Brata is named after Goddess Savitri who is regarded as one of the five Satis who fought with Lord Yama to bring back her husband Satyaban from Yama. Savitri was the beautiful daughter of King Aswapati of Madra. She wanted to marry Satyaban, a prince in exile who was living in the forest with his blind father Dyumatsen despite learning that he was doomed to die within a year.
After marrying Satyaban, she left the place and started living with her husband and in-laws in a forest. With her devotion and commitment towards her in-laws and husband, she proved herself to be a best wife and daughter-in-law.On the last day of the year, Savitri accompanied Satyaban when he left for work. While cutting wood, Satyaban felt dizzy and fell from a tree.
Yama, the God of death, appeared before her to take away Satyaban’s soul. Savitri pleaded with Yamaraj for her husband’s life and didn’t let him go. She followed her husband’s soul till the gates of Lord Yama’s abode. Yamaraj, moved by Savitri’s devotion and love for her husband, restored the life of her husband.
Since then, married women in India have been fasting with utmost dedication to ensure their husbands’ good health and long life. This Brata teaches women to respect their husbands. Apart from Odisha, Savitri Brata is observed by married women in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh but the ritual is popular in the name of Vrat Savitri there.