Kojagori Lakshmi Puja: On the upcoming 28th of October (10 Kartik), Kojagori Lakshmi Puja falls on a Sunday this year. From the night of the 27th of October at 3:40:55, it will continue until the night of the 28th of October at 1:55:14, marking the occasion of the full moon. also known as Sharad Purnima or Kumar Purnima, is a traditional Hindu festival celebrated with great fervor and devotion.
It is observed on the full moon night of the Hindu month of Ashwin, typically falling in October. This festival is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, the deity of wealth, prosperity, and good fortune.
The Significance of Kojagori Lakshmi Puja:
Kojagori Lakshmi Puja holds immense significance in the hearts of devotees, particularly in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is believed that on this auspicious night, Goddess Lakshmi descends to Earth and visits the homes of those who are awake, bestowing her blessings on them. This belief has led to the tradition of staying awake throughout the night.
Kojagori Lakshmi Puja History
Kojagori Lakshmi Puja is a traditional Hindu festival celebrated with great enthusiasm, primarily in the Indian state of West Bengal and some other parts of India. It is observed on the full moon night of the Hindu month of Ashwin, typically falling in October. The festival is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, prosperity, and good fortune.
While the exact historical origins of Kojagori Lakshmi Puja are not well-documented, it is deeply rooted in Hindu mythology, customs, and the traditions of West Bengal. The festival’s history is intertwined with the broader significance of Goddess Lakshmi and the observation of Sharad Purnima, the full moon night in the month of Ashwin.
Here are some key aspects of the history and significance of Kojagori Lakshmi Puja:
- Vedic and Puranic Roots: The worship of Goddess Lakshmi has ancient Vedic and Puranic roots. She is revered as the goddess of wealth, fortune, and abundance. Her blessings are sought for prosperity and well-being.
- Sharad Purnima: The full moon night in the month of Ashwin, known as Sharad Purnima, holds special importance in Hindu culture. It is believed to be a night of divine grace and blessings.
- The Myth of Lakshmi’s Descent: One prevalent belief associated with Kojagori Lakshmi Puja is the myth of Goddess Lakshmi’s descent to Earth on this auspicious night. Devotees believe that she visits homes and blesses those who are awake and engaged in her worship, which is why staying awake throughout the night is a common practice.
- Regional Traditions: While the festival is celebrated in various parts of India, it is especially popular in West Bengal, where the rituals and customs are deeply ingrained in the culture. The Bengali culture has added its unique flavor to the celebration, including songs, dances, and cultural events.
- Fasting and Offerings: Fasting on the day of Kojagori Lakshmi Puja is a common practice, and devotees break their fast after performing the evening puja. Offerings to the goddess typically include sweets, fruits, and various vegetarian dishes.
- The Significance of Watching The Full Moon: The tradition of moon gazing during the festival is another distinctive aspect. It is believed that the moon is particularly radiant and auspicious on this night, and devotees spend time outdoors, gazing at the full moon.
Lakshmi Puja Date and Celebrations
On the upcoming 28th of October (10 Kartik), Kojagori Lakshmi Puja falls on a Sunday this year. From the night of the 27th of October at 3:40:55, it will continue until the night of the 28th of October at 1:55:14, marking the occasion of the full moon.
Lakshmi Puja Fasting Traditions and Rituals
Fasting during Lakshmi Puja is a common and significant tradition for devotees seeking the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu deity of wealth, prosperity, and good fortune. This sacred practice is observed on the full moon night of the Hindu month of Ashwin, typically in October. Fasting is considered a way to purify the body, mind, and soul and to demonstrate devotion and discipline. Here are the fasting traditions and rituals associated with Lakshmi Puja:
1. Types of Fasting:
- Nirjal Fasting: Some devotees opt for a nirjal (waterless) fast, which means abstaining from both food and water throughout the day. This type of fasting is considered more stringent and requires great endurance and dedication.
- Phalahar Fasting: Many others choose to observe a phalahar (fruit) fast, where they abstain from regular meals but consume fruits, milk, and specific fasting-friendly foods during the day.
- Ekadashi Fasting: Some individuals might combine the Lakshmi Puja fast with Ekadashi fasting, which occurs on the 11th day of the lunar fortnight.
2. Morning Rituals:
- Devotees wake up early and take a purifying bath. The morning is dedicated to the preparation of the puja area and the arrangement of puja items.
3. Devotional Practices:
- Fasting devotees engage in prayer, meditation, and the recitation of mantras and stotras (devotional hymns). These practices help create a spiritual and serene atmosphere.
4. Puja Timing:
- The main Lakshmi Puja is usually performed during the evening hours, after the sun has set and the moon has risen. Devotees break their fast after completing the puja.
- Devotees prepare a variety of sweets and dishes that are vegetarian and free of onion and garlic to offer to Goddess Lakshmi. Offerings typically include kheer (rice pudding), sandesh, luchi, fruits, and more.
6. Breaking the Fast:
- The fast is traditionally broken by consuming a morsel of prasad (offerings) from the puja, symbolizing the acceptance of Goddess Lakshmi’s blessings.
7. Wakefulness and Moonlight:
- After the puja, devotees often participate in the ritual of moon gazing, as it is believed that the moon is particularly auspicious on the night of Lakshmi Puja. They seek blessings and prosperity while looking at the full moon.
8. Charity and Generosity:
- Another integral part of the fasting tradition is the practice of charity. Devotees often donate food, money, or other essentials to the less fortunate to spread the blessings they receive.
9. Family Participation:
- Lakshmi Puja is a family-oriented festival, and fasting is often observed collectively. Families come together to participate in the rituals and share in the fasting experience.
How to Perform the Lakshmi Puja
Lakshmi Puja is a sacred Hindu ritual dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, the deity of wealth, prosperity, and good fortune. This puja is commonly observed on special occasions and festivals like Diwali and Kojagori Lakshmi Puja. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to perform Lakshmi Puja:
Before You Begin:
- Choose a clean and quiet place for the puja, preferably in a dedicated puja room or corner.
- Gather all the necessary puja items, including a picture or idol of Goddess Lakshmi, a puja plate, incense sticks, a lamp or diya, flowers, sweets, fruits, rice, a clean cloth, and any other offerings you’d like to make.
Step 1: Preparation
- Cleanse Yourself: Before you begin, take a bath and wear clean and fresh clothes. This signifies purity and readiness for the puja.
- Prepare the Puja Space: Place a clean cloth on a raised platform or altar. Arrange the puja items neatly on the cloth.
Step 2: Invoking the Deity
- Light the Lamp: Begin by lighting the oil lamp or diya to symbolize the presence of divine light. Light incense sticks as well.
- Invoke the Deity: Invite Goddess Lakshmi to your home by reciting a mantra or a prayer. You can use the following mantra: “Om Shreem Mahalakshmiyei Namaha.”
- Offer Flowers: Place flowers on the idol or picture of Goddess Lakshmi while reciting her name and offering your devotion.
Step 3: Performing the Puja
- Offering Sweets and Fruits: Offer sweets, fruits, and any other special dishes you’ve prepared. These offerings symbolize your willingness to share your wealth and abundance.
- Offer Rice: Sprinkle uncooked rice on the idol or picture. This represents a bountiful harvest and prosperity.
- Chanting Mantras: Recite mantras or prayers dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, such as the “Lakshmi Gayatri Mantra” or “Mahalakshmi Ashtakam.” You can find these mantras in religious texts or online resources.
- Light Incense: Continue to burn incense during the puja to purify the surroundings and create a serene atmosphere.
Step 4: Seeking Blessings
- Prayer and Meditation: Spend some time in prayer and meditation, focusing on your desires and seeking the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi.
- Arati (Waving of the Lamp): Wave the lit lamp or diya in a circular motion in front of the idol or picture, while singing arati songs. This is a way of acknowledging the goddess’s presence.
- Distribution of Prasad: After the puja, distribute the prasad (blessed offerings) to your family members and guests.
- Maintain Cleanliness: Ensure the puja area remains clean and pure. The goddess is believed to reside in a clean and tranquil environment.
- Express Gratitude: Conclude the puja by expressing gratitude to Goddess Lakshmi for her blessings and for bestowing wealth and prosperity upon your home.
Lakshmi Puja is a heartfelt and devotional practice. The specific rituals and mantras may vary among different traditions and regions, so you can adapt the puja to your family’s customs. The key is to perform the puja with sincerity, devotion, and a pure heart.
The Cultural Aspects: Kumar Purnima
Kumar Purnima, also known as ‘Kojagari Lakshmi Puja’ in some regions, is a unique and vibrant festival celebrated primarily in the Indian state of Odisha. It falls on the full moon day of the Ashwin month, which typically corresponds to October. While it shares some elements with the more widespread Lakshmi Puja, Kumar Purnima has distinct cultural aspects that set it apart.
1. Celebrating Youth and Beauty:
- Kumar Purnima is often referred to as the “festival of youth.” It is a day dedicated to the worship of Lord Kartikeya (Kumar), the god of youth and war, and Goddess Mahalakshmi. Young unmarried girls observe special rituals and fast during the day to seek the blessings of Kumar for an ideal spouse and a prosperous, beautiful life.
2. Wakefulness and Moonlight:
- On the night of Kumar Purnima, young girls stay awake throughout the night, singing songs, dancing, and playing games. This is believed to be a way to appease Kumar and to ensure that they find a good husband.
- Moonlight plays a significant role in the celebration, as it is believed to have a soothing and purifying effect, enhancing the beauty of young women.
3. Rituals and Activities:
- The festival begins with girls drawing elaborate rangoli designs outside their homes, adding to the festive and artistic aspects.
- Devotees prepare a special dish called ‘habisha’ or ‘havi,’ which is a concoction of various seasonal fruits and other ingredients. This is considered to be an offering to L0rd Kartikeya.
4. Traditional Attire:
- On Kumar Purnima, girls dress in their finest traditional attire, often wearing new clothes. They adorn themselves with jewelry and apply henna or mehndi on their hands, enhancing their beauty.
5. Fun and Games:
- Young girls participate in various games and activities like ‘puchi,’ a traditional form of hopscotch, and ‘gapa gosha,’ where they sit in a circle and engage in lively discussions.
6. Social Gatherings:
- The festival promotes social cohesion and family togetherness. Families come together to celebrate, and elders bless the younger generation.
7. The Spiritual Aspect:
- Kumar Purnima is not just about seeking a suitable spouse but also about inner beauty, purity, and spiritual well-being. The fast and rituals are a means to develop self-discipline and devotion.
8. Community Bonds:
- Kumar Purnima strengthens community bonds, as neighbors and friends often visit each other’s homes to witness the rangoli designs and join in the celebrations. It is a time for social interactions and sharing.
Kumar Purnima beautifully combines cultural, spiritual, and social elements in a celebration of youth and beauty. It highlights the importance of tradition, family, and community bonds, making it a significant and colorful festival in the state of Odisha. The dedication of young girls to the rituals and the joyous atmosphere make it a cherished cultural event that adds vibrancy to the cultural tapestry of the region.