Sharad Purnima Festival, India

Sharad Purnima is one of the most important festivals in the Hindu calendar. A few days before Sharad Purnima, the moon exhibits all sixteen Kalas or phases, as per Hindu mythology. Sharad Purnima is also acknowledged by the names Kojagori Purnima, Kojagara or Kojagiri Purnima, Sharad Poonam and Kumar Purnima.

Farmer's also celebrating Sharad Purnima is a harvest festival in many parts of the country. On Sharad Purnima, devotees worship Goddess Lakshmi. In her worship, Lakshmi is praised for her wealth and prosperity. During this time, the rainy season comes to an end, signifying the harvest festival. The Brij region celebrates Sharad Purnima as Raas Purnima, a day when Lord Krishna is believed to have performed the Maha-Raas with his Gopis. Hearing the sound of Krishna's flute, the Gopis came out of their homes on the night of Sharad Purnima.

In mythology, it is said that Lord Krishna and the Gopis of Vrindavan danced all night long. A woman traditionally fasts all day and prepares bhog to offer to the Goddess. Nirjala fasts (without drinking water) are performed by some and coconut water and fruits are consumed by others. Sweet dishes are served alongside savory dishes. Bhog must include rice kheer. Rice kheer is traditionally offered to devotees breaking their fast. The next day, friends and family share the kheer. Milk, rice, sugar, or jaggery make up the main ingredients of Rice Kheer. Zhenji and Tesu marry in the Braj region on the day of Sharad Purnima. Immediately following the marriage, Hindus begin the preparations for their marriage festivals. The Vardan (boon) says that Tesu should be married before anyone else can start the marriage process.

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