Pavitropana is celebrated in Gujarat in the month of Shravana on the day of Purnima (July-August according to Gregorian calendar). Being great devotees of Lord Shiva, Gujarati community worships him and seeks out his blessings as it is believed that whosoever prays to him on this sacred day, his/her sins will be forgiven. On the eve of Shravana Purnima, a few twisted strands of cotton are dipped in a mixture called Panchagaivya, which is prepared from cow's ghee (prepared from milk), milk, curd, urine and excreta. These filaments of cotton, after being dipped in Panchagaivya, are then fastened to the Shivalinga. As per the Hindu belief, a cow, being a sacred animal, purifies the cotton in Panchagaivya so that those who tie the cotton around the Shivalinga have his/her sins and impurities cleansed.
On this day, the temples all over Gujarat are decorated with different flowers and people offer water, milk, coconut water, honey and curd on the Shivalinga, hoping these offerings will satisfy him and in return Lord Shiva will bless the devotee with good luck, good health and prosperity. And as Shiva is known as the god of destruction, it is believed that he will destroy all the sources of evil and will bring happiness on earth. The puja of Lord Shiva is mostly done on Mondays and if it's on Monday that Shravana Purnima or Pavitropana falls, then it becomes the most auspicious day of the year for people of Gujarat.
This festival is also referred to as Putrada Ekadashi in the Bhavishya Purana where, a story narrated by Lord Krishna tells how the Ekadashi in the month of Shravana became sacred. In this story Lord Krishna says "At the dawn of Dvarpara-yuga there lived a king by the name of Mahijita, who ruled the kingdom of Mahismati-puri. Because he had no son, his entire kingdom seemed utterly cheerless to him. A married man who has no son gains no happiness in this life or the next."
Every effort of the king to have a son ended in disappointment and as he got more worried during the years, he called his advisors said that though he had not committed any sin and he was yet not blessed with a son. He told the advisors to find out the reason for this. The advisors went to a sage named Lomasa Rishi and asked for the reason. The rishi, after going deep into meditation and understanding about the king's previous life, replied that the king had done misdeeds in the previous life when he was a merchant. The king had offended a cow and a calf that came to drink water when the king too (as a merchant), while drinking water, shoved away the cow and the calf. The sage suggested that if the king fasts and stays awake all night on Ekadashi called Putrada, he past sins will be forgiven. And the king did exactly as the sage had said and he bore a son. And Krishna concluded the story by saying that who observes Putrada Ekadashi or Pavitropana becomes free of all sins.
Pavitropana in 2012: Thursday, 2nd August
Pavitropana is celebrated among the Gujarati community on the day of Raksha Bandhan. Find out more about Pavitropana in this article.