Jitiya, also known as Jivitputrika Vrat, is a traditional Hindu fasting ritual observed by mothers for the well-being and longevity of their children, especially sons. This fasting is primarily observed in the Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand, and parts of Uttar Pradesh.
Here are the steps to observe Jitiya fasting:
1. Choose the Appropriate Date: Jitiya fasting is typically observed on the Ashtami (eighth day) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) during the Hindu month of Ashwin. You can consult a Hindu calendar or a priest to determine the exact date for the fasting.
2. Preparations Before Fasting:
- Mentally Prepare: Fasting requires mental preparation. Understand the significance of Jitiya fasting and its rituals.
- Obtain Necessary Items: You will need items like sacred water (jal), flowers, fruits, milk, and other offerings for the puja (prayer) and to break the fast later in the day.
- Plan Your Meals: The fasting typically involves abstaining from both food and water from sunrise to sunset. Plan your last meal the evening before, and make sure it is simple and satiating to sustain you throughout the day.
3. Sunrise Ritual:
- Wake Up Early: Rise before sunrise and take a ritualistic bath to purify yourself.
- Mangala Gauri Puja: Begin the day with the Mangala Gauri puja. Offer prayers to the goddess for the well-being and longevity of your children.
4. Fasting During the Day:
- Complete Abstinence: On Jitiya, you need to abstain from both food and water from sunrise to sunset. This can be quite challenging, so be prepared for it.
- Spend Time in Prayer: Use this time to meditate, read religious texts, or engage in prayer. You can also tell stories related to Jitiya to pass the time.
5. Evening Ritual:
- Breaking the Fast: Once the sun sets, it’s time to break your fast. The meal is usually simple and consists of fruits, milk, and other light dishes.
- Puja and Worship: Offer prayers to the setting sun and the moon. Perform rituals and pujas dedicated to the well-being of your children.
- Donate: Many people choose to donate to the poor or needy as an act of charity and goodwill.
6. Seek Blessings: Seek the blessings of your elders and touch their feet as a mark of respect and humility.
7. Share the Experience: Share your fasting experience and the significance of Jitiya with your family and friends. Encourage them to observe this fast if they wish.
8. Rest and Recovery: After breaking your fast, ensure you get enough rest and nourishment to recover from the day of fasting.
Remember that Jitiya fasting is a personal choice, and not all Hindus observe it. If you have any health concerns or dietary restrictions, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional before starting any fast. Additionally, customs and rituals associated with Jitiya may vary from region to region, so it’s advisable to consult with a knowledgeable elder or priest for specific guidance.