Varalakshmi Pooja or Varamahalakshmi Pooja is performed to propitiate Goddess Lakshmi and invoke her blessings. It is celebrated on a Friday that precedes the full moon day in the month of Shravan. This year it falls on August 28th. This Pooja is observed in the southern states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Tamilnadu.
It is ideal to conduct the Varalakshmi Pooja before the Rahu Kalam (Poison Time) from 10.30 am to 12 pm on a Friday. Cows are considered to be Goddess Lakshmi herself. Therefore, in some parts of the country, Varalakshmi Pooja is performed in the evening, the time when the cows would return after grazing.
There are many Slokas in praise of Goddess Lakshmi, but the most important ones to be chanted on the day of Varalakshmi Pooja would be Lakshmi Sahasranamam (1000 Names of Goddess Lakshmi) and Lakshmi Ashtothram (108 Names of Goddess Lakshmi).
Sundal (a seasoned mixture made with any of the pulses and coconut) is a special food item prepared on this day along with an elaborate vegetarian mean and dessert. Those who fast on this day, consume food after their fast ends.
In general, women perform this Pooja, though, in some communities, it is done as a couple. New mothers are not expected to perform this Pooja as it might become a bit tiresome for them.