Itu Puja or Itu Vrata is traditionally performed by married women for the enhancement of family health and welfare and by unmarried girls in the anticipation of getting a good husband. In 2017, Itu Puja dates are: November 19, November 26, December 3 and December 10.
The Itu Puja is observed at morning every Sunday throughout the Agrahayan Month (late November through early December).
The Itu vrata involves the planting of seeds and grains and the subsequent germination of sprouts which symbolically fulfill the women’s need of having a healthy child and prosperous household. Also the ritual being associated with Sun God is also believed to cure blindness.
During Itu Puja, the person doing the puja mixes soil with a bit of cow dung as fertilizer in a small earthern pot . The pot is beautifully decorated with red and white paint.
Then a prescribed number of seeds and grains are placed in the pot. This process is called ravisasya meaning the planting of the Sun’s crop. Then , every sunday, they pour water into the pot.
During the puja, people offer many varieties of food made of milk, flour and fruits. These offerings are called Itur sadh which symbolically represent the cravings of a pregnant woman. Later the food is distributed as prasad only among women. Later the Itu Vrata Katha is recited to highlight the benefits of doing the puja and praising the Sun God.
In 2015, Itu Puja dates are: November 22, November 29, December 6 and December 13.
In 2014, Itu Puja dates were: November 23, November 30, December 7, December 14 and December 16.
In 2013, Itu Puja dates were: November 17, November 24, December 1, December 8 and December 15.
In 2012, Itu Puja dates were: November 18, November 25, December 2 and December 9.