Goddess Sita is said to be the reincarnation of Goddess Laxmi. Born in Treta Yug in the kingdom of Mithila she is also known as ‘Janaki’ – the daughter of King Janak. Sita Navami is celebrated as her birth anniversary on the ninth day of shukla paksha (bright half) in the month of Vaishaka as she was born on this day and married to Lord Rama who was born on the same tithi in the hindu month of Chaitra as a seventh reincarnation of Lord Vishnu.
Goddess Sita appeared directly from the earth while King Janka was ploughing a field for performing Yagna and suddenly the plough got stuck in the dirt. Upon unearthing, a baby girl appeared in a golden casket. A prophecy echoed in the skies that the girl was born to be King Jankas daughter and will be married to a man considered ‘Purshottam’, possessing all the virtues. King Janaka accepted her as a divine gift from gods. He named the baby girl after the land in which she appeared – ‘Sita’.
There is also another legend which says that Sita is a rebirth of Vedavati who was a beautiful woman. She gave up all the worldly things to meditate and offer tapasya to Lord Vishnu. Once Ravana saw her and got captivated with her beauty. He tried to violate her, upon which she jumped into the fire cursing him that she will be the reason of his death in her next birth.
The significance of the tithi navmi is paramount and it represents the number of the day when Sita was born. As per the numerology, number nine is the highest single digit number and the person born on this day resembles the ideal and supreme good. Since Lord Rama and Goddess Sita both were born on the navmi in different months, their marriage represents the union of two supreme beings and is often looked upto as an example of the ideal match made in heaven. Although they faced many hurdles in their life as a couple – be it ‘Vanvas’ or Sita’s abduction by Ravana, yet they were always loving and firm in their relationship.
Sita Navami is considered very auspicious day by married woman who pray for their long and happy married life. They also fast for their husband’s long life praying that they remain ‘Suhagan’ all throughout their life. On the day of Sita Navami, couples offer puja to Lord Ram and Goddess Sita. They get ready in new clothes and construct a small mandap with four small pillars tying a banana stem attached to its leaf on each of the pillar. The mandap is decorated with flowers. In the centre, the idols of Lord Rama and Goddess Sita is placed facing east, along with the plough and bit of earth dirt, signifying Goddess Sita’s emergence from earth. People offer Naivaidya (sweets), fruits and Bhog (Puri, Kheer, Halva etc) to the goddess and pray for their happy married life.
The celebrations are done with more grandeur at Lord Rama and Goddess Sita’s temple, where they perform Maha-abhishek and Sringar Darshan of the idols. Few temples also carry out processions with idols of Lord Rama, Goddess Sita, Laxman and Hanuman on a chariot , singing devotional songs and chanting – ‘Jai Siya Ram’.