Laxmi Puja is an important part of Diwali celebrations
Laxmi Puja will be celebrated on October 30, 2016. The day celebrates Laxmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. On the day Laxmi is worshipped along with Ganesha, Kali, Saraswati and Kuber. One of the reasons why Diwali is celebrated is also to celebrate the birth of Lakshmi. According to one legend, Lakshmi was born out of Samudra Manthan, the Great Churning of the Ocean. Among the objects that emerged from the churning was Lakshmi. It is also believed that she was married off to Vishnu on the same day and clay lamps were lit to celebrate the union. Also Read - Ravichandran Ashwin Questions as People Burst Crackers During PM Narendra Modi's #9pm9min Initiative Amid Coronavirus Lockdown
For most part, Diwali is the festival of celebrating wealth. And it is thus that Laxmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity finds herself in the midst of the celebrations. Typically, Hindu household worship Laxmi every evening at the time of the lighting of the lamps. It is believed that she enters homes of people at this time of the day and it is hence that homes must be cleaned and swept before the evening falls. Laxmi is also worshiped on the full moon night of Kojagari Purnima. Also Read - Share Market Holidays in April 2020: Here's The Complete List of Days Stock Market will Remain Closed
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Laxmi may be a goddess of wealth and prosperity but the image signifies a lot more. She stands on a fully-bloomed lotus and holds a lotus bud. This suggest her beauty, fertility and purity. Her four hands represent the four objectives of human life: dharma, kama, artha and moksha. From one of her hands, gold coins are seen to be flowing. This signifies that she is indeed the goddess of prosperity and those who pray to her will gain wealth. Most of our understanding of Hindu Gods is thanks to the images of Raja Ravi Verma and it is thanks to him that we picture Laxmi as a goddess who wears red and gold embroidered clothes. Red is typically the color of the bride in Hindus and the gold border suggests prosperity.
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How is Laxmi Puja celebrated?
Typically, the Laxmi Puja day begins early with an auspicious bath. Vishu, whose consort Laxmi is, is worshiped. In the afternoon, just before lunch, people offer prayers for the departed soul and offer fresh vegetables serve Brahmins vegetarian food. Homes and offices are cleaned because it is believed that Laxmi arrives at the cleanest homes! But now it is evening and Lakshmi and Kuber are worshiped as is Vishnu. The traditional practice is to place the image or idol of Laxmi on a lotus or a swastika drawn with consecrated rice. Kuber’s image stands next to Laxmi’s and a metal pot. These images are prayed to, people offer flowers and sweets and distribute them among themselves.
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Followed by this, children burst fire crackers and the grown-ups stay up all night gambling and playing cards. The practice of gambling away money on Lakshmi Puja, the day when you are supposed to welcome the goddess of wealth and prosperity is somewhat paradoxical. But the tradition can be traced back to the legend of Parvati playing dice with Shiva, her husband and then going on to decree that whoever gambled on the night of Diwali would prosper throughout the year. And it is thus that the paradox notwithstanding, people gamble during Diwali.
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