Varalakshmi Vratam Festival, India

The Varalakshmi Vratam festival celebrates the connection between married women and their families. Following this Pooja, there is a special procedure that the ladies observe. It falls in the month of Shravana (July-August) Shukla Paksha.

When worshipers of Varalakshmi invoke her on this day, she grants them boons, the word Vara in the goddess' name. It is popularly celebrated in the regions of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh with traditional Pooja Vidhanam. It is performed every second Friday during Sravana Masam.

As a result of Lord Shiva helping Parvati with the Vrat, people have been able to rid themselves of pain, sorrow, and suffering. Devotees of this ritual believe they will receive the blessings of long life, financial prosperity, and good health for themselves and their families. Greetings to Goddess Lakhsmi Charumati are offered in this puja, as the devotional offering of her devotee has a story to it. This resulted in Goddess Mahalakshmi appearing in Charumati's dreams, inviting her to observe Varalakhsmi Vratam. While following her dreams and following the fast, she invited neighbors, friends, and family to seek the blessings of Goddess Varalakhsmi.

Fasting is observed by married women between sunrise and sunset. Married women wake up early in the morning and bathe. On top of the Kalasam they install mango leaves with a coconut in the center to decorate their houses. They also place an idol nearby. The Kalasam is also covered with ornaments, flowers, and a saree. The Kalasam is placed under the banana leaf with rice on top. A pinch of turmeric and kumkum is sprinkled on Goddess Lakshmi. The next step is for the ladies to chant the Lakshmi Astotharam and Namanamavali together with the story of the vratam and pray to Lakshmi Devi. The women tie yellow thread with 9 knots in their hands before offering the Goddess prasadam and jaggery. It is like passing kumkum on to other women and inviting them to exchange gifts and have a small get-together.

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