Prayers Are Offered To The Banyan Tree
Festival Of: Married Women
Falls On: May-June
is a women's festival celebrated in the month of Jesht (May-June).
On this day married women observe a fast and tie threads around
a banyan tree and pray for the same husband in every birth.
The legend behind the banyan tree is the story of Satyavan and Savitri.
The story goes that Satyavan and Savitri were married. It had been
foretold that Satyavan would die early. One day, Satyavan, after
spending the morning cutting firewood, felt tired and lay his head
down on Savitri's lap under a banyan tree. Savitri knew that the
predicted end was near and waited fearfully for one of the messengers
of Yama, the god of death. When the messenger came, Savitri refused
to give up her husband and sent him packing. Messenger after messenger
tried to take Satyavan away, but in vain.
Finally, Yama himself appeared before
her. Since she was still adamant, he offered her a boon. She asked
for the well being of her in-laws. He granted it to her. She then
followed him as he took Satyavan's body away. He offered her another
boon. She now asked for the well being of her parents. This boon,
too, was granted. But she was relentless, and continued to follow
him. As they approached Yama's abode, he offered her a final boon.
She asked for a son. He granted it. She then asked him how it would
be possible for her to beget sons without her husband. Yama was
trapped and had to return her husband.
On the strength of this legend, married
women pray to the banyan tree for the long life of their husbands
and for children Their fast is observed right through the night
till the next morning.