Janaki Jayanti is observed on Krishna Paksha Ashtami in the month of Phalguna that falls in February-March as per the Gregorian calendar. The day when Goddess Sita appeared on Earth is known as Janaki Jayanti. Goddess Lakshmi reincarnated as Sita in the kingdom of Mithila in Treta Yug. As it celebrates the birth anniversary of Goddess Sita, it is also known as Sita Ashtami.
Janaki Jayanti 2022 - Thursday, 24 February
Tithi - Phalguna Krishna Paksha Ashtami
Women take part in Sita Ashtami/Janaki Jayanti with a lot of fervor and exuberance. They observe fast all throughout the day. After taking a bath in the early morning, a small mandap is prepared that consists of the statues of Goddess Janaki, Lord Rama, and king Janaka and a plow. Then the devotees worship the statues with flowers, incense sticks, and lamps or diyas.
The mandap in it usually has bhoga or pious eatables that are offered to the Gods and then to the worshippers as prasad. Usually, the bhog is vegetarian that can’t be made of onions, garlic, ginger. Once all is done, the devotees chant the Sita mantra. People take the statues of Lord Rama, Maa Sita, Laxman, and Lord Hanuman in processions on this day and they sing Bhajans and recite Ramayana in shrines/ temples.
As Maa Sita was adopted by Janaka, the king of Mithila, she was also known as Janaki. Born in Pushya Nakshatra on Tuesday, she was married to Lord Rama who was the 7th avatar of Lord Vishnu.
The story of Janaki goes as once King Janaka was plowing the field. He wanted to conduct a Yajna/ Vedic Homam/ Yagya. As he was plowing, his fate stumbled upon a baby girl. She was in a Golden casket in the field. Being born from the Earth while plowing, Janaka named the baby girl Sita that translates literally into a plow.
Although faced with innumerable hurdles, Lord Rama and Maa Janaki’s love is immortalized in Hindu scriptures. Women who take part in the worshiping of the Gods on this day are considered to be blessed with peace, harmony, abundance, and love from the divine.
As Mata Sita epitomizes purity and piousness, women seek blessings to be like her. Janaki Jayanti or Sita Navami is one of the festivals in Hinduism where women take part actively to mainly worship and celebrate a woman. Such festivals are indirect agents of empowering women.