Also known as Jivitputrika Vrat, Jitiya Vrat 2023 is a significant festival observed by mothers in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand. Usually celebrated over three days for the welfare and prosperity of children, this festival is associated with many regional delicacies. Here are some you should know about.
Also known as the Jiviputrika Vrat or Jitiyashtami, Jitiya Vrat is a significant festival observed by Hindu women across Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and parts of Jharkhand. On this festival, mothers keep the Jitiya Vrat or fast to ensure the happiness and long life of her children. Observed on the Ashtami Tithi of the Krishna Paksha of the month of Ashwini according to the Hindu calendar, Jitiya Vrat 2023 will be celebrated on October 6, 2023, with the Paran or end of fasting on October 7, 2023.
Here is everything you need to know about the significance, rituals and must-have traditional foods for Jitiya Vrat 2023.
Video Credit: YouTube/Sanjeev Kapoor Khazana
Jitiya Vrat: The Story Behind The Jivitputrika Vrat
Hindu mythology says that there was once a king named Jimutavahana, who was famed for being humble and kind. While in exile in a forest, he came across a Nagavansha mother crying for her child since she had been forced to offer her child to Pakshiraj Garuda as food. King Jimutvahana, taking pity on her love for her child, offered himself to Pakshiraj Garuda instead. Seeing his sacrifice, Pakshiraj Garuda promised to not feed on children from the Nagavansha as long as the mothers promised to practice certain rituals to ensure the safety and prosperity of their children.
These rituals, spread over three days, are still observed by mothers keeping the Jitiya Vrat 2023 today. On the first day of Jitiya, known popularly as Nahaye-Khaye and observed on the Saptami, women get up early in the morning, take a bath and offer certain foods to the gods. On the Ashtami or Jitiya Ashtami, women repeat these rituals and then keep a day-long fast. Many women keep a nirjala fast on this day. On the following day, known popularly as Paran, women break the fast and cook plenty of traditional dishes that are fed to the children and family to signify prosperity.
Here are some of the essential or must-have traditional foods that one must consume during the Jitiya Vrat 2023.
Also known as Ragi, this millet forms an essential part of the Jitiya Vrat 2023 celebrations especially on Nahaye Khaye. Ragi or Madua flour is used to make hot rotis for the occasion of Jitiya Vrat 2023. In many homes, Madua is also used to make Ragi Halwa, Ragi Laddoos and Ragi Puri during the three-day Jitiya festival in many parts of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
A small, leafy green with a distinct flavour, Noni Saag is also known as wild purslane in English. Also known as Luniya Saag in certain parts of Bihar, this leafy green is used to make a simple, no onion-no garlic saag dish that is relished with Madua rotis on Jitiya Vrat 2023. Noni saag is especially cooked on the day of Nahaye-Khaye.
These tiny, reddish dried peas are extensively grown and consumed in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand—which is why they form a compulsory part of the Jitiya Vrat 2023 festival. Kusi kerao is usually cooked during Paran or the end of fast meal after a day-long fast. Soaked overnight and then cooked into a dal or dry curry with greens, Kushi kerao is a must-have during Jitiya 2023.
Also known as Poi Saag or Malabar Spinach, Poro Saag is an essential ingredient that is cooked up especially during the third day of Jitiya Vrat 2023 or Paran. The saag is washed and chopped up, then cooked up with minimal ingredients to make a dry curry. Poro saag is also combined with Kusi Kerao to make a delicious dry curry known as Kusi Kerao ke Saag.
Also known as Sarputiya or Kadam Satputia, this small green vegetable comes from the gourd family and is closest to the texture and taste of sponge gourd. These tiny gourds called Satputiya are used to make a simple curry on the third day of the Jitiya Vrat 2023, known as Nahaye Khaye. The curry is simply spiced and eaten with fresh rotis.
A dry variety of Gujiya or Karanji, Pirukiya is especially made during all festive occasions in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar—and Jitiya Vrat 2023 is no exception. The shell of the Pirukiya is make with wheat flour infused with ghee, while the filling is made with coconut, jaggery, dry fruits, nuts and seeds. Shaped into delicate, half-moon dumplings, Pirukiya is deep-fried until golden brown, but not dipped in sugar syrup after that.
Another classic Bihari dish that is prepared during all festivities, Thekua is a sort of wheat flour cookie that is loaded with plenty of flavours. The wheat flour is mixed with sugar or jaggery powder, cardamoms, chopped nuts and seeds and combined to make a dough. This dough is then shaped into delicate cookies using moulds and stamps, and then deep-fried to perfection.
During Jitiya Vrat 2023 as with most festivals like Holi and Diwali in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, making a variety of Pakodas using fresh, seasonal ingredients is a ritual. On the day after Jitiya Vrat, better known as Paran, mothers use seasonal veggies like pumpkin, cauliflower, chillies and even lentils to make crispy, deep-fried pakodas. These are relished with green chutney and eaten as a snack with the family.