Dussehra 2018: Why Are Apta Leaves Called ‘Sona’ or Gold and Gifted During Dussehra?
Apta leaf (Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons/ Flickr, Dinesh Valke)

Rituals form a big part of Indian festivals, and we follow them without questioning them. Dussehra is one such festival where the rituals are as diverse as the country itself. In Maharashtra, gifting of “gold” or apta leaves is a central practice during the festival. The leaves of the apta tree, known as bidi leaf tree or its scientific name Bauhinia racemosa, is offered to others in the family during Dussehra celebrations. It’s a custom to exchange the leaves calling it “sona” or gold during the festival. Even the leaves of the tree are called “sonpatta” or gold leaves.

Ever wondered what started the tradition? According to one legend, victorious Maratha soldiers would bring back gold and other spoils of war. These things were then placed before God or offered to near and dear ones. In remembrance of this tradition, people started exchanging apta leaves as a symbol of the gold distributed by the warriors. Navratri 2018 Greetings in Hindi for Friends: Best Durga Puja GIF Images, WhatsApp Messages, Quotes, SMSes & Facebook Status to Wish Happy Navaratri.

According to another legend, a man by the name Kautsya lived in Ayodhya and was under the tutelage of a guru named Varatantu. As a guru dakshina, Kautsya wanted to offer something to his teacher, but the guru declined. On repeated insistence, the guru demanded 14 crore gold coins from him. Kautsya, in a fix, went to Lord Rama, the ruler of Ayodhya and requested him for the gold. 108 Names of Maa Durga in Hindi: This Navaratri 2018, Chant Names of Devi Durga to Seek Goddess Shakti's Divine Blessings.

Rama calmly told Kautsya to wait under the apta tree. And three days later, he was showered with gold coins as he stood under the tree as all its leaves turned to gold. Lord Kubera, the God of wealth, performed the miracle to help Kautsya out of his misery. It was then distributed among the poor. Navratri Colours 2018 to Wear During Nine Days Festival: Images and List of 9 Colours for Each Date of Sharad Navaratri.

Lord Rama’s ancestor, King Raghu was a generous man. After having donated all his wealth among the poor, a boy turned up at his doorsteps. The poor boy asked for alms from the king. But having given everything away, King Raghu had nothing to offer to the boy. So he fought Lord Kubera and made gold rain down on earth, some of which fell on the Apta tree.

So how does one offer “Sona”? On Dussehra day, one has to place four to five leaves of the plant to God first and then present it to the elders in the family.