Goddess Lakshmi is the Universal Divine Mother. Being the divine consort of the Supreme Protector Vishnu, Lakshmi remains the Goddess of virtually all good things in life, like wealth, health, beauty, love, power, fortune, prosperity, and joy. She is a compassionate divinity whose mere glance is enough to wipe out poverty and sorrow and bestow people with riches and wellbeing. Varalakshmi Vratham is a festival celebrated in honor of this benevolent divinity, where she is worshipped as Vara Lakshmi, the bestower of boons.
Varalakshmi Vratham is a ceremonious worship that combines austerities and prayers. Generally confined to the Southern states like Andhra, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerala, this festival is celebrated by women, particularly by married women, for propitiating the Goddess and seeking her favors.
Significance of Varalakshmi Vratham
Fridays are ruled by planet Venus, whose presiding deity is Lakshmi. Hence Fridays are regarded as special for Lakshmi worship. Varalakswhmi Vratham is also celebrated only on a Friday that happens to be the second Friday of the Moon’s bright fortnight or the Friday before the Full Moon, in Shravana month (July – August). This occasion is held as so auspicious for Lakshmi worship that it is believed that observing Varalakshmi Vratham and offering prayers to her on that day can please all the 8 Ashtalakshmi forms of the Goddess, who represent 8 great blessings in life and earn all their abundant grace for the devotees.
Varalakshmi Vratham 2021 falls on 20th August of the year.
Varalakshmi Vratham Observance
Also known as Varalakshmi Pooja or Varamahalakshmi Pooja, Varalakshmi Vratham Pooja is performed by the women by observing fast, chanting hymns in praise of the Goddess, making offerings of food items specially prepared for that day, and praying to her.
Vratham is fasting, and so, those performing the worship refrain from food on that day till they complete the Pooja. The deity of worship on that day remains the face of the Goddess, usually engraved in silver, which is installed on top of a Kalasam, a sacred silver pot. The deity as also the pot is decorated with turmeric, kumkum, sandal paste, colorful silk clothes and dresses, gold jewels, and flowers. Many slokas and hymns dedicated to Varalakshmi are recited, and her sacred names are taken with devotion with the offering of flowers. Many food items and fruits are made as offerings, and the Pooja is concluded with Arti worship.
Lakshmi is a Goddess who can bestow remarkable blessings on the devotees and help them lead a life of fulfillment and joy. Hence, women do everything in their hands to please her on the special occasion of Varalakshmi Vratham by inviting her respectfully to their homes, chanting hymns, and singing songs in her praise, offering flowers, and fruits to her, and thanking her for all her blessings.
And they also go further and specially prepare many delicious food items on that day with devotion and offer those with great love and affection to the Goddess. This, they believe, can please the Goddess immensely, make her stay in their places forever, and fill their lives with eternal wealth, prosperity, peace, welfare, and joy.
Varalakshmi Vratham is an age-old festival, observed traditionally in many families. Though laid down procedures are there for its observance, the practices differ from state to state, place to place, and family to family. Such differences extend to the food prepared, offered, and eaten on that occasion.
Let us try to know in brief about some of the popular food items for the day.
Sundal or Chana, the cooked grams occupy a pride of place in the food offerings of the day. These can include peanut sundal, rajma sundal, and others made of Bengal gram, groundnut, etc.
The savory items include Vada varieties, Murukku, Thattai, etc.
The sweet varieties could include many types of Laddus, sweets like balushahi or badusha, Kesari, Halwa, and a host of Kheers or Payasams.
Special preparations like Pongal, sweet Pongal, tamarind rice, coconut rice, lemon rice, Sambar rice, etc., are also made on the day.
A complete feast is served on the day, which includes many vegetables, pulses, papad, varieties of rice items, Sambar, Rasam, and other items.
It is believed that sincere worship done to Lakshmi on Varalakshmi Vratham along with such a variety of food offerings can propitiate her greatly and get her immense blessings for the devotees and their families.