It is observed on the fifth day of shukla paksh (the bright fortnight) in the month of Margashira as per the Hindu calendar. The festival is generally marked in late November and early December time according to the Georgian calendar .This festival is primarily celebrated in the Northern India, Mithilanchal and Nepal.
According to the Hindu epic Ramayana, King Janak of Mithila (Janakpur) organized a "Swayamver" ceremony where he invited many kings of various kingdoms and Sita the daughter of Janak was supposed to choose a groom for herself among them. However the condition was to lift the Shiva dhanusha and string it ,to be able to marry princess Sita . Thousands of kings and princes tried but could not even make it move a bit .Then Ram the prince of Ayodhya, lifted this gigantic heavy Shiva dhanush (bow) and string it. Breathless audience clapped and flower came from heaven, and princess Sita was wedded to Lord Ram.
To immortalize the wedding ceremony of Lord Ram, and Devi Sita, people have been celebrating the Vivaha Panchami with enormous dedication.
Vivaha Panchami CelebrationsVivaha panchami is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervour in Ayodhya, the birth place of lord Ram. Here, many centuries-old temples are decorated with lights and flowers on this day. A splendid wedding procession is held that passes from many temples during the day and ends with the wedding ceremony of idols of Ram and Sita .Many Hindus come from all over India to witness this grand event. Devotional songs and chants from epic Ramayana are also sung by the devotees. Elaborate rituals are performed in temples with idols of Ram and Sita. Many people from Mithila, dressed in their traditional attire come to Ayodhya and perform on stage. This grand event is called as Ram Vivah Utsav. Apart from festivities at temples, many cultural programmes, stage shows organized by various communities are also very common on this occasion.
Ramleela depicting life of Lord Ram and Sita can also be observed .In these shows both male and female character of Ramayana are enacted by male actors. With so many tourists and locals performing various rituals, indulging in the celebrations, Ayodhya becomes so bright and lively.
Vivaha panchami also represents the olden times of great bonding and association between India and Nepal as the festival of Vivaha panchami is very popular in Janakpur as well, which is a very historical and spiritual city of Nepal. The festival of Vivaha Panchami is the best occasion to visit Janakpur to observe the culture and traditional values of the place.
Vivaha panchami celebration takes place in the Janaki Temple for seven days. The whole temple is decorated and highlighted as a "Mandap" during this time . Mandap is a temporarily decorated place where Hindu wedding ceremonies take place. The idols of Lord Ram and Sita are brought to the Mandap, they are decorated as bride and groom with ornaments and traditional wedding dresses. The divine wedding ceremony of Lord Ram and Devi Sita takes place with great fervor, after which these idols are worshipped with devotional songs and chants. Delicious traditional food is served to the common people in many temples as a part of holy feast. There is no denying that jam-packed with tourists and Hindu devotees; Janakpur becomes lively on this festival.
To read about this festival in Hindi click here