Shri Ram – Mata Janaki Vivah Utsav was celebrated by hundreds of devotees at the Hindu Mandir of Lake County, Grayslake, IL Nov. 23, The day marks the Shuklapaksha (waxing phase) Panchami (fifth day) of the month of Margashirsha of Hindu Calendar. This festival takes on added importance in North India and Nepal as Goddess Sita’s parental home is said to be in the Mithilanchal region there.
The wedding ceremonies were enacted with the statues of Lord Ram and Mata Janaki. The Baraat (procession) of Lord Ram with all other male Gods of the temple was taken into the shrine by male devotees and Pundit Anil Joshi offered Madhuparkam to Lord Ram. Later, young children broke the Dhanush (bow) of Lord Shiv symbolizing the action of Ram at the Swayamvar where he won Sita’s hand in marriage. The breaking of bow symbolizes the disruption of ego before entering into Grahsthashram – married life.
Mata Janaki was carried in by the female devotees who gorgeously dressed up for the occasion. Mata Sita performed Gauri Poojan with her devotees before her wedding. Temple priests, Pt. Anil Joshi Ji from Var Paksh and Yogesh Pandey from Kanya Paksha welcomed devotees from both sides and performed Hasta Milap, offering of Uttariya and Gotrachar and Kanya daan.
Pundit Joshi also performed Pujan of Lord Ganesh, Lord Ram and Mata Sita including all the Vedic wedding rituals such as Jayamala, Saptapadi (Seven steps) referred to as Saat Phere. Devotees went around the holy fire and also sang the praises of Lord Ram and Mata Sita through to the Bidayi procession.