Lakshmi Puja :
Lakshmi Puja celebration. Out of all the prayers and offerings performed by the Hindus, the charm and grandeur of the puja ceremony of the Goddess of wealth, Devi Lakshmi is evident. This puja ceremony is performed on various festive occasions like Hindu Nav Varsh (New Year), Grihapravesh etc. But the biggest celebration of this puja ceremony takes place of the festival of light, i.e. on Deepawali. The evening of Deepawali is considered as a very auspicious time for performing the Lakshmi puja on a lavish scale. The idea behind performing this puja ceremony is to please the Goddess of Wealth so that she can bless the people to become wealthy and prosperous in the coming year.
The concept of Lakshmi puja originates from the Hindu mythology and it is believed that the house should be lighted with diyas after properly cleaning it before the puja ceremony can be performed. This Deepawali festival is a `no moon’ or amavasya day, but still it is considered extremely auspicious for well being of the household to perform this puja ceremony. Although the custom of performing this puja ceremony is prevalent in Northern states of India, but the ritual is catching up in the households of the other Indian states too lately.
The family members dress up in their best fineries and decorate their home temple very lavishly with flowers, scented candles, camphor etc. The idol of
Devi Lakshmi is decorated diwali with new ornaments and a small red chunri with golden embroidery is offered to the idol of Goddess of wealth. The women of the household decorate the `arti thaal’ and then the aarti is performed by the family members. Aarti songs are sung by the family members to please the Goddess Lakshmi. Some well to do households also purchase gold or silver coins to place in their home temple during the puja ceremony.
If there is a new bride in the household on some particular Lakshmi puja ceremony, then it is considered a very good omen if she performs the puja rituals. Also, some other deities like Lord Ganesha are always worshipped along with the Goddess of Lakshmi during the puja ceremony. After this ceremony sweets are distributed in the family members and neighbors as sacrament. One Diya always brightens the puja room after the performing of puja ceremony. The interior and the exterior are of the house is brightened by lighting candles and Diyas all over the place after performing this puja ceremony.
Although the customs of performing this puja ceremony might be different in various states of India, but the basic ritual of lighting the Diya in the temple and performing arti remains the same. The puja is performed not only for fulfilling a ritual, but it is also said to take away the negative energies from that home. No Deepawali celebration can be considered complete in a Hindu household without this puja ceremony.