Varalakshmi Vrata

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Varalakshmi-Vrata

Famous in the states of Andhra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and parts of Maharasthra, this Vrata(fasting) by married women is performed on the last Friday of the bright fortnight of the moon’s cycle. It is usually performed in the Hindu month of Ashadha which corresponds to July/August of the English calendar.  Even though Varalakshmi Vrata( called Varalakshmi Nombu in Tamil Nadu) looks akin to Karva Chauth(an important festival of women of northern India), but the likeliness is limited only to the type of people performing it and the objective of performing it which is longevity of the husbands.  There is an enduring belief that worshipping Goddess Lakshmi on this day is analogous to worshipping Ashtalaksmi – the eight goddesses of Wealth (Sri), Earth (Bhu), Learning (Vidya), Love (Priti), Fame (Kirti), Peace (Shanthi), Pleasure (Tushti), and Strength (Pushti). It is believed that goddess Parvati recommended this Puja to Chitranemi , a creation of Lord Shiva, to get rid of a curse given to him by her.

Varalakshmi Vrata is incomplete without a Kalasam or a metal pot which is used to invoke goddess Lakshmi in it. This Kalasam usually made with bronze or silver is filled with rice and gold and silver coins. A bunch of mango leaves is used to adorn it by keeping the leaves around the opening. Finally a coconut is placed to close the opening followed by applying some turmeric- paste on it. Finally spots of Kumkum are rubbed on the outside of Kalasam.

The adornment isn’t confined only to this. It is further decorated with the aid of ornaments like Mangal Sutra, new clothes etc. People even draw the visage of Lakshmi on the pot or sometimes stick a silver face of hers on it.

After the decoration is complete, the Kalasam is carried from the entrance of the house to Puja venue accompanied by welcome songs.  Nine strings (Nombu Charadu in Tamil) dipped in turmeric powder with nine knots are placed on the Kalasam as a garland. After the Puja, women wear it around their wrists and pray for their husband’s longevity.

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