Varalakshmi Vratham is a festival dedicated to goddess Laxmi-the goddess of wealth and prosperity and is observed mainly in south Indian states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Varalakshmi puja falls on the on the second Friday before the full moon day in the month of Sravana.
This is puja is performed by women and worshipping Goddess Lakshmi on Varalakshmi Vrata day is equivalent to worshipping Ashtalaxmi which is the eight goddesses of Wealth, Earth, Learning, Love, Fame, Peace, Pleasure, and Strength. It is believed that performing puja in the form of a Vratam to Goddess Varalakshmi will bring in boons to those who perform the puja with utmost devotion. Varalakshmi means the boon granting goddess.
Varalakshmi Vratham History
According to the legends the importance of Varalakshmi Vrata puja was narrated by lord Shiva to Parvathi when she asked the lord about a vratha that will be beneficial to women to attain wealth, property and progeny and be happy.
To illustrate the importance of this day he tells her the story of Charumati. Impressed by the devotion of Charumati, Goddess Mahalaxmi appeared in her dream and said that if she worshipped her on Friday before the full moon in the month of shravan all her wishes will be fulfilled. Accordingly the pious Charumati performs the puja along with relatives and neighbours with great devotion and soon after the puja everyone’s wishes who took part in the puja were fulfilled and were blessed with prosperity.
Another legend goes that when lord Shiva and Parvathi were playing a game of dice Parvathi was winning game after game but lord Shiva claimed victory. So Chitranemi, a gana of Shiva was appointed as the umpire. However he ruled in favour of lord Shiva and this angered Parvathi who cursed him to become a leper. When he begged for forgiveness Parvathi agreed and said that he will be free from curse if he watched pious women performing the Varalakshmi puja. Thus the tradition of performing Varalakshmi Vratham began.
How is Varalakshmi Vratham Puja Celebrated?
The rituals practised on this day vary from region to region but the basic format is the same. Houses are cleaned a day before the puja day itself. On the day of the puja the women take bath early in the morning get dressed in traditional attire and jewellery and decorate the front yard with rangolis. A small mantapam is set up by drawing rangoli. Rice is spread on the rangoli and a kalash is placed on the rice. The kalash is a small pot with coconut on top. The Kalash is half-filled with water and decorated with betel leaves, usually five in number. The coconut is applied with turmeric and is decorated with kumkum. On top of the coconut, a red cloth which is folded like a pyramid is placed to look like a cap. The features of the Goddess are also drawn on the coconut to make the image of her and jewellery is put round the coconut.
Lord Ganesh is worshipped first followed by the Varalakshmi Vratham puja. Sweets, flowers and fruits are offered to goddess laxmi. After the puja women tie yellow coloured threads to their wrists. Thamboolam and dakshina are offered to other married women who are invited for the puja. Fasting is observed by the women who perform the puja.