India - Laxmi Puja Festival

by V.A.Ponmelil (All rights reserved by the author)

Laxmi Puja Festival

The festivals of Laxmi puja is celebrated in India at the time of Diwali. It has great religious or mythological significance behind them. It is the festival of worshipping the goddess of wealth. It falls on Diwali day in the month of October or early November.

On the day Laxmi Puja is performed it is extremely important to keep the house spotlessly clean and pure. According to the Hindu mythology, Goddess Laxmi likes cleanliness, and she visits the cleanest house first. This is also the reason why the broom is worshiped on this day with offerings of haldi and kumkum (turmeric and vermilion). Lamps are lit in the evening to welcome the goddess. They are believed to light up her path.

Laxmi Puja consists of a combined puja of five deities: Ganesha is worshiped at the beginning of every auspicious act as Vighnaharta; Goddess Laxmi is worshiped in her three forms - Mahalaxmi (the goddess of wealth and money), Mahasaraswati (the goddess of books and learning), and Mahakali; Kuber (the treasurer of the gods) is also worshiped.

All the Hindu households hold their private puja. Small idols of Lord Ganesh and goddess Laxmi are brought. In the holy books there is an elaborate description of the rituals that have to be performed. In absolute cleanliness and with total devotion the rituals are carried out in each household and business place to appease the goddess. The whole family sits together at the feet of the goddess while the worshipping is going on.

Once the worshipping part is over, crackers are burst to celebrate Diwali. According to tradition crackers are supposed to be burst only after the rituals are over, but children hardly follow this tradition. Their eagerness and excitement is at peak. Many traditional dishes are prepared and there is a custom of meeting all the elders after performing the puja to seek their blessings.

Laxmi is the goddess of light, beauty, good fortune and wealth. While Laxmi is generally worshiped to achieve success, she does not reside long with anyone who is lazy or desire her only as wealth. However, she is the one everybody craves for but very few can have her. Laxmi puja is held with much pomp and splendor to appease her. After all the very word Laxmi is synonym of wealth in Hindi language.


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