Jayaparvati Vrat is a fairly significant fast observed by unmarried girls and also by married women. This vrat is observed mostly in Gujarat area and certain other parts of western India.
This vrat or ritual is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. This is observed by the women folk for peace, prosperity and well being of their husbands and family at large or for a good husband.
This is a vrat or ritual which is to be observed for a prolonged period of 5, 7, 9 or probably 11 years. Every year the devotees have to keep a vrat for 5 days during the month of Ashada.
It starts from the Shukla Paksha Trayodashi and lasts till the Krishna Paksha Tritiya in the month of Ashada as per traditional Hindu calendar. This corresponds to sometime in the month of July as per the Gregorian calendar. In 2017, this vrat will be observed from 6th of July, Thursday.
- Legend behind the Jayaparvati Vrat
There is an interesting legend behind the Jayaparvati Vrat. Long ago there lived a Brahmin couple who did not have a child. They were devout devotees of Lord Shiva and used to worship him on every single day. One day Lord Shiva appeared in their dreams and asked them to go to a forest and uncover his Shiva Linga and worship it there. The couple went to the forest and managed to find it out. The husband went to fetch flowers, where a snake bit him and he fell unconscious. Seeing her husband’s delay, the wife went to look for him and found him unconscious. She started praying deeply and intensely for her husband’s welfare and impressed by her penance, Lord Shiva brought him back to consciousness. Then they prayed to the Shiva Linga and were later blessed with a son.
There is another legend prevalent with this ritual, where a poor Brahmin couple were bereft of a child and made intense prayers to lord Shiva. The wife was ironically and wrongly cursed that she would never be able to have a child; the wife asked for pity and was told that the situation can be remedied if only the husband went away and did severe penance. The husband did severe penance and was given a glimpse of Mata Parvati. Parvati mata told him that he can have a son who will live for 19 years or a daughter who will become a widow. He asked for a son. The son grew up and when he was 17 was married off to a girl called Shanta who performed Gauri Vrat. Shanta, had a dream from Gauri ma that a snake will bite her husband. As a precautionary measure she was instructed to keep out 2 cups. One cup should be filled with milk and sugar and the other cup should be empty. Shanta after the night sees the snake in the other cup and gives it to her mother-in-law to be thrown away. Thus with her immense faith and dedication, she was able to save her husband and got him a new lease of life.
Thus the Jayaparvati Vrat is observed to remember the tireless and courageous wife who saved her husband. It is believed that women who observe this vrat would be able to keep their husband safe from any kind of obstacles in their life and also ensure his longevity.
- The rituals and the fast
This is a vrat where one cannot eat anything with salt in it. The salt is to be absolutely avoided during this period, as is wheat or other vegetables.
On the first day of the vrat the devotees plant whaet trees or Javara in small bowls or earthen pots and kept near God in the house. Then the puja is conducted with a Nagla or a neckpiece made from cotton wool and decorated with kumkum or vermillion. This is placed around the pot. This ritual is carried out on all the days and the plants are watered.
Women stay awake or participate in a jagran on the fifth day as it is considered to be auspicious.
On the final day a puja is conducted for Parvati Mata in the nearby temples. The Javara which was in the pot is taken out and planted in the garden or immersed in holy waters. A full meal can be have on this day with chapatti, vegetables and salt.