Tulsi Vivah (marriage of Tulsi plant with Lord Vishnu) festival is an important festival in India. On the festival day, people arrange the marriage of Tulsi plant with Lord Vishnu — or his avatar Krishna. This ceremonial festival is celebrated on Prabodhini Ekadashi of Kartik month of Hindu calendar. It comes on the 11th day after Diwali. Some Hindu communities celebrate the festival for a period of five days, ending celebrations on the Full Moon Day of the Kartik month. All the rituals of marriage as per Hindu wedding are performed on this day either at home or in a temple to celebrate Tulsi Vivah Festival.
In the Hindu community, the Tulsi plant is considered to be a holy plant (the Holy Basil), as it symbolizes purity. In ancient times, it was also famous for its medicinal properties, and so, it is commonly found in almost every Hindu house.
The festival is mostly celebrated by either unmarried women looking for a suitable match, or women who are having trouble getting married or whose marriage may be getting delayed for some reason, or for couples having problems getting pregnant.
According to Hindu mythology, the Tulsi plant was a woman named “Vrinda”, who was married to the Asura king, Jalandhar. A true devotee of Lord Vishnu, she was blessed by the Lord for her piety, and was given the power of invincibility.
Being unable to defeat King Jalandhar, Lord Shiva sought help from Lord Vishnu, who is believed to be the preserver of the Trinity. Disguised as Jalandhar, Lord Vishnu tricked Vrinda by destroying her chastity.
With Vrinda’s chastity destroyed, King Jalandhar lost his power, and Lord Shiva was able to defeat him. Vrinda, feeling cheated and insulted due to which she immediately cursed Lord Vishnu and turned him into a stone. This stone is commonly known as Shaligram. Later, everyone requested Vrinda to set Lord Vishnu free from this curse and she did. But, she burned herself with the head of demon Jalandhar and became Sati (immortal). In that particular place, a plant was grown which was named as Tulsi, a synonym for Vrinda. As promised by Lord Vishnu to marry her in her next birth, on the Prabodhini Ekadashi stone Shaligram, an avatar of Lord Vishnu and Tulsi plant got married. From that day onwards Indians celebrate the self-sacrificial and devotional attitude of Tulsi.
According to another legend, it is believed that on the day of Tulsi Vivah, Goddess Lakshmi defeated a demon, and remained on Earth by residing in a Tulsi plant.
Customs and Rituals
As part of the tradition and custom, a Tulsi plant is dressed in a red saree. The branches of the plant are adorned with red and green bangles. Kumkum, and red bindi are applied on the main stem. A mangalsutra (a necklace married women wear to represent their marital status), made of dried turmeric root, is also placed on the plant.
An image or idol of Lord Vishnu or Lord Krishna is placed next to the plant to represent the ‘groom’. The idol is dressed in a dhoti, and bathed and decorated with flower garlands before the ceremonial wedding.
The Tulsi plant and the idol of the Lord are tied together in matrimony with a Holy thread (called molli).
Female members of the family often observe a fast during the day of the festival, and only break it before the celebrations begin in the evening.
Tulsi Vivah Muhurat: 9 November 2019
Tulsi Vivah Tithi – Saturday, 9 November 2019
Dwadashi Tithi Begins – 12:24 on (8 November 2019)
Dwadashi Tithi Ends – 14:39 on (9 November 2019)