Vivah Panchami is a festival that marks the wedding anniversary of Lord Rama and Goddess Sita, the divine couple of Hinduism. It falls on the fifth day of the bright fortnight of the Margashirsha month, which corresponds to November-December in the Gregorian calendar. This year, Vivah Panchami will be celebrated on Sunday, December 17, 2023. On this auspicious day, devotees observe various rituals such as taking a holy bath, lighting a lamp, performing a grand puja ceremony, adorning the idols with garlands and jewelry, and offering bhog prasad. In Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, and the Mithila region of India and Nepal, the festival is celebrated with grandeur. The celebration includes Ramayana recitation, sattvik food preparation, and Bhajan Kirtan.
The significance of Vivah Panchami
Vivah Panchami commemorates the day when Lord Rama, the prince of Ayodhya, broke the bow of Lord Shiva and won the hand of Goddess Sita, the princess of Mithila, in a swayamvara. According to the Ramayana, the epic that narrates the life story of Lord Rama, this was a divine marriage that was ordained by the gods. Lord Rama and Goddess Sita are considered as the ideal couple and the epitome of love, devotion, and loyalty. They are worshipped as the incarnations of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi, the preservers of the universe. Vivah Panchami is a day to seek their blessings for a happy and harmonious marital life.
The rituals of Vivah Panchami
On Vivah Panchami, devotees wake up early in the morning and take a holy bath. They wear nice clean clothes and light a lamp in front of Lord Rama. Many devotees organize a grand puja ceremony of Ram Sita Vivah, where they re-enact the wedding of the divine couple. They take a wooden plank and place Lord Rama and Goddess Sita idols on it. They adorn the idols with garlands, clothes, and jewelry. They light a lamp with desi ghee and offer bhog prasad such as kheer, different types of seasonal fruits, meetha paan, panchamrit, and tulsi leaves. Those who do not have Ram Darbar, they place Ram Darbar coins instead. They recite Ramayana and offer prayers to Lord Rama and Sita Mata. They prepare sattvik food at home and offer that food to the Lord. At the end of the puja, they perform Ram Stuti and Aarti. Bhajan Kirtan is also organized.
The celebration of Vivah Panchami
In the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, the city of Ayodhya celebrates Vivah Panchami with great grandeur. Ayodhya is the birthplace of Lord Rama and the venue of his wedding. Thousands of pilgrims visit the Ram Janmabhoomi temple and other temples dedicated to Lord Rama and worship with great devotion. The temples are decorated with flowers, lights, and banners. The idols of Lord Rama and Goddess Sita are taken out in a procession and a mock wedding ceremony is conducted. Cultural programs, fireworks, and fairs are also held to mark the occasion.
In the Mithila region of India and Nepal, Vivah Panchami is observed as the marriage festival of Sita and Rama in temples. Mithila is the birthplace of Goddess Sita and the place where Lord Rama broke the bow of Lord Shiva. The temples are adorned with paintings, sculptures, and Madhubani art depicting the scenes from Ramayana. The devotees celebrate the day with happiness and enthusiasm. They sing folk songs, dance, and exchange sweets and gifts.
The mantra of Vivah Panchami
On Vivah Panchami, devotees chant the following mantras to invoke the grace of Lord Rama and Goddess Sita:
- Om Jaanki Vallabhaye Namah…!!
- Ram Ram Rameti Rame Raame Manorame Sahastranaam Tatulyam Ram Naam Varanane…!!