Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Lakshmi Puja on Diwali

Diwali is a festival of light. This festival is celebrated across the world and mostly in India. There are lot of rituals which are observed during Diwali. Here we will focus on the Lakshmi Puja on Diwali. Diwali is a five day long festival. Diwali is also known as Deepavali. It is the end of the harvest season.

History of Lakshmi Puja on Diwali
Diwali is a festival of lights and people in India wait for this festival throughout the year. This festival is the celebrated in end of October or beginning of November. There is a history behind the celebration of the festival. This festival of light is the end of the harvest season. This time the farmers thank for the harvest in the last year and they pray for good harvest in the coming year. In the agrarian cycle this time is the end of all business transaction. This is also the last main festival before the winter comes in. Lakshmi is the symbol of wealth. So, every year Lord Lakshmi is prayed for wealth and her blessings. It is believed that Lakshmi was born by churning of the ocean. When she was born all the Gods were very pleased to see her with her beauty.

The Puja
Let us focus on the Puja during Diwali.
  1. A new cloth needs to be spread on a platform. Few grains need to be kept at the centre. A small pitcher which is the traditional Kalash made of gold, silver, copper, or terracotta needs to be placed. Three fourth of the pitcher should be filled with scared water. A betel nut, a flower, a coin, and some rice grains needs to be poured in the pitcher. Now place a bunch of mango leaves. The bunch must be of five leaves. The pitcher needs to be covered with a dish with few rice grains on it.
  2. Now you have to place the Idol. This is an important part of the Puja. In the South-West direction and on the front but right of the Kalash the idol has to be placed. You must place the idol of Ganesha. As per tradition, first you will have to place Ganesha. Do not forget to place ink and books in front of the idol. This is to bring prosperity in business. First you will have to light a lamp. Then with haldi, kumkum, and flowers you need to start the Puja.
  3. There are mantras for Lord Ganesha. They need to be recited.
  4. Now the idol for Lord Lakshmi needs to be placed. First you need to bathe Lord Lakshmi in a plate. Then you will have to bathe her with panchamrit (a mixture of milk, curd, ghee or clarified butter, honey, and sugar). The idol needs to be wiped and dried with a clean piece of cloth.
  5. The offerings that you need to place in front of the idol are sandalwood paste, haldi, kumkum, abeer, and gulal. A garland of cotton beeds and flowers need to be placed. Flowers are essential in the Puja. Lighting incense stick and dhoop are mandatory. Sweets, coconut, fruits, and tambul needs to be offered in front of Goddess. Puffed rice and batasha should be placed too. Puffed rice, batasha, coriander seeds and cumin seed must be placed over the idol.
  6. The finally step of the Puja is the Aarti. With a small bell and fire the lord needs is be worshipped. A peaceful at calm atmosphere is required for the aarti. Once you end the aarti, the Puja gets completed. After this you can distribute the the offering to the people who attended the Puja.

Remember not to burst crackers if the Puja has not ended. You can only burn crackers, once the Puja is over. The entire house gets decorated with lamps and lights. All family members buy gifts and they meet their near and dear people.

The significance of Diwali is the victory of good over evil. That is why all houses are decorated with lights. This festival is celebrated on the new moon night. So, the entire sky looks decorated with light. This day is an official holiday for Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maynmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore, and Fiji too.

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