Pugga Vrat, fast for the prosperity and welfare of the children

Ganesh Chaturthi or sankashti Chaturthi is considered as one of the most important festivals of Hindus. Devotees usually set up a pandal and worship Lord Ganesha. Particularly in Jammu region, people keep fasts on this particular day which is famously known as "Pugga da Vrata" in Dogri language.

Women in the state get up early in the morning and visit temples after taking a bath to offer Pooja to the Lord Ganesha. The day is celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm.

Mothers particularly keep this fast for the prosperity and welfare of their children. This fast is considered tougher than Karwa Chauth because women cannot even have sargi in this fast (a special festive meal consisting of milk, Fenis, Jalebis etc. taken by Hindu women before sunrise) in the breakfast. For the rest of the day, women recite mantras and worship Lord Ganesha in their own ways.

In the end, the fast is broken after paying obeisance to the moon with pugga, radish, salad, sweets, sesame ladoos/Til ke ladoo, are considered good for health and religiously they are supposed to protect from people from evil spirits) kheer etc.

Multiple other confectionaries are prepared which includes modak (ladoo, a sweetmeat made of flour and sugar) made in the form of Ganesha. And on this day, women mostly abstain from having water or any other non-vegetarian food items.

Legend behind the Pugga Vrat

In olden days, there lived a woman in a village that had seven sons. One day she thought of renovating and redecorating her home so she went out to bring some soil from the forest just a day before Diwali. As soon as she entered the forest, she started digging the soil near a den and all of a sudden, her axe fell on the cub and he died.

The poor lady regretted her decision of digging near the den. Sadly, he collected some soil and came back home. Unfortunately, after this incident, all her seven sons died within a year.

Saddened by these things, she finally narrated her story to older women in the village and accepted that she committed a sin. Ladies gave a patient hearing to her and assured her that by confessing her fault, she has atoned half of her sin. They suggested her to worship goddess Ashtami Bhagwati by sketching the face of the cub.

The woman followed their advice by fasting on Kartik Krishna Ashtami with the hope that her sin will be casted off. Miracle happened finally she got back all her seven sons. Since then, it has become a ritual to worship goddess Ahoi Ashtami Bhagwati every year. This is how "Pugge da Vrat" came into existence. Women across the state celebrate this day with great fervour by keeping fasts for their children's health and welfare.

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Author

Hardeep Bali