Vivah Panchami is a popular Hindu festival that commemorates the weddings of Lord Rama and Goddess Sita. It is celebrated on the ‘Panchami’ (5th day) of the Shukla Paksha (the waxing phase of moon) during the month of ‘Margashirsha’ in the Hindu calendar. This day is considered to be very auspicious as it marks the ceremonial marriage anniversary of Rama and Sita. Just like any Hindu wedding, the celebrations and festivals begin several days in advance
The celebrations of Vivah Panchami are very notable in Lord Rama temples in different parts of India, particularly in Mithilanchal region and some parts of North India. The day also holds immense significance at Janakpur, in Nepal as it was believed that the ceremony was held here itself. Thousands of pilgrims from Indian and other parts of the world come to witness this grand celebration.
Celebrations of Vivah Panchami:
The day of Vivah Panchami is celebrated with great fervour in Ayodhya, the birth place of Shri Ram. On this auspicious day all the temples are brightly lit with lamps. The celebrations involve the enactment of this divine wedding ceremony. During the day a grand procession leaves from one temple to another and ends with the magnificent wedding ceremony in the evening. The idols of Lord Rama and Goddess Sati are magnificently adorned with clothes and jewelry to make them look like bridegroom and bride respectively. The entire event is popularly known as ‘Ram Vivah Utsav’. All through the day devotional songs in praise of Lord Rama are sung by devotees. Besides the festivities at the temples, several stage shows and cultural programmes are also organized on this occasion. Ramleela, a stage performance that depicts the life of Lord Rama and Devi Sita is also observed in many regions. People from different parts of the country come here to participate in the celebrations.
At Janakpur particularly the celebrations are observed with great fanfare. Special rituals and pujas are held across temples including the renowned ‘Dashrath’, ‘Ram’ and ‘Janki’ temples. Here the celebrations continue for a period of 7 days and devotees observe all the rituals with immense zeal and dedication. Thousands of devotees visit these temples to seek the divine blessings for leading a happy family life. As a part of the rituals, devotees on the day of Vivah Panchami take a holy bath in renowned lakes of Mithilanchal like ‘Dhanushsagar’, ‘Gangasagar’ and ‘Argaza Pond’.
Significance of Vivah Panchami:
In the Ramayana and other Hindu scriptures, the day of Vivah Panchami is considered to be very significant and sacred. It is stated that Shri Ram, the eldest son of King Dashrath of Ayodhya is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. On the Panchami of the Hindu month of ‘Margashira’, Lord Rama visited Janakpur, the birth place of Goddess Sita. He broke the ‘dhanush’ (bow) of Lord Shiva in the Swayamvara and was married to Princess Sita. In order to immortalize this divine wedding ceremony, devotees have then been celebrating the wedding of Lord Rama and Devi Sita on Vivah Panchami every year.
The observance of Vivah Panchami also highlights the friendly relations and bonding between India and Nepal that has been cherished for centuries. Janakpur is a very spiritual and historical city of Nepal and thousands of Indians visit this birth place of Goddess Sita every year to observe the festival of Vivah Panchami.