Navratri, Durga Puja and Dussehra celebration is over and today its time to celebrate Lakshmi Puja. Although most of the Hindu worship Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth, happiness and prosperity) soon after Diwali. But in West Bengal, Orissa and Assam on the occasion of Sharad Purnima or Kajogari Purnima, people worship the goddess, Lakshmi. Kojagari Purnima falls on the full moon day in the lunar month of Ashvin.
The celebration of Lakshmi Puja on Kojagari Purnima
On this auspicious day, idols of Goddess Lakshmi fills the market, and people take them home to worship.
The devotees especially the women of the house offer sweets, grains, fruits and new clothes. On this day, they wake up early morning and prepare delicious kheer with rice as an offering. The women fast on this holy day.
In the evening the women perform the puja after a day-long fast. Moreover, they break their fast with Prashad offered to her.
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Alpona on Kojagari is a must
Another interesting fact about Kojagari Lakshmi puja is the ‘Alpona’ which is similar to rangoli. The women draw beautiful feet of the goddess with rice powder paste at the entrance of every house. The feet symbolise goddess Lakshmi’s footprint while she enters the home and stays forever. Besides Alpona beautiful rangolis are also made.
The significance of the celebration:
Kojagari means awakening the night. Kojagari Lakshmi Puja is the night that eliminates poverty and welcomes the wealth and prosperity forever.
It is a grand celebration of every household and even in pandal, may it be a wealthy man or a poor farmer. Therefore, goddess Lakshmi bestows her devotees with wealth, happiness and prosperity in life. Thus, everybody worships her to appease and seek her blessings.
The occasion also holds an immense significance for a newly wedded couple. The married women put Aalta on their feet (bordering their feet with red colour) and wear new saree and beautiful jewellery. The men and children also wear new clothes.
Kojagari Purnima also marks the harvest festival which is at the end of the monsoon season. In some part of India, people also worship Lord Indra (the God of rain) during this time.
The Story and legend associated with Sharad Purnima or Kojagari Purnima:
As per one story, there was once an artisan that made an idol of Alakshmi (the Goddess of Poverty). A noble kind-hearted king of Bengal promised his artisans that he would buy any object that remained unsold. At the end only the idol of Alakshmi remained, so the king bought it.
Soon after the misery struck his kingdom. The queen was then advised by someone to observe the Kojagari Lakshmi vrat on the full moon night of Ashwin, and do the Laxmi puja as per the rituals. After performing the rituals, the kingdom soon established itself once again.
The Festival concludes with the immersion of the idol.
Like every puja, Durga Puja or the Chaturthi, the idol of goddess Lakshmi is immersed in a river or other water bodies.