Laxmi Puja is one of the many festivals of Bengal that are celebrated nearly in every household of the country. Goddess Laxmi is the Hindu Goddess of wealth and pomp. In West Bengal, Goddess Laxmi is worshiped, just after the Durga Puja. It is beloved that Laxmi is the daughter of Maa Durga who blesses people with peace, wealth, prosperity, and fame. The Puja is organized on a full moon night, just after the Dusherra. This is also the reason for the Puja to be having another name, Laxmi Purnima. It is extremely mind boggling to know that, the worshippers stay up all night to worship Mother Laxmi or Laxmi Mata, who is believed to be visiting the houses of her devotees at the stroke of midnight. In the occasion, the devotees offer the Goddess with home cooked vegetarian delights in the form of hotchpotch or Khichuri, accompanied with payeth (milk boiled rice porridge), begun (aubergine fritters), chatni (syrup boiled fruit pulps), papadam, and aloor dum (potato curry). Without all these basic food, a Laxmi Puja can never get completed, because these are considered to be the bhog of Maa Laxmi which are eaten by the devotees only when the goddess is done with her completion of meals. Goddess Laxmi is believed to bless the devotees with wealth and prosperity when her Puja is done in the most ritualistic manner.
Photo by Biswajit Das Kunst
The mythological fact about Goddess Laxmi
In the Indian mythology, Goddess Laxmi is showcased as a beautiful woman who reflects a golden aura. She is always seen sitting on a huge Lotus. Maa Laxmi has another popular name, which is Shri, which symbolizes her consort with Lord Vishnu, or Narayan, her husband. Goddess Laxmi is believed to have been emerged from the deep blue ocean, from the churning of milk or Sudha. Then she was married off to Narayan, or Vishnu, who is the creator of the Universe. She has an active share of Vishnu’s participation in replenishing the Universe’s preservations.
The essential accessories required to conduct Laxmi Puja
Here is a short list of the essential accessories that are required from worshipping Goddess Laxmi’s glory, at the devotee’s home abode; holy water from river Ganga, Turmeric, Oil, Stone, Perfume, Grass, Fruits, Flowers, Curd, Sindur, Ghee, Pitukli, Kahal, Conch Shells, white mustard, Gorachana, Silver, Gold, Yellow thread, Alta, Mirror, Copper, Iron, Gamchha, saree, ghawt, camphor, arrows, five metals, honey, clarified butter, paddy kites, banana leaves, banana trunk boats, colorful streamers, noibiddo and bhog along with uncooked rice. All of these are intricately associated with the process of singing glory to the goddess of wealth and prosperity, Maa Laxmi.
Photo by Swami Stream
The division of the Bengalis that are witnessed in the conduction of Laxmi Puja at home
Laxmi Puja has always been associated with the partition of Bengal when it is witnessed that the Mother Goddess is worshiped following different customs and rituals in the household of the Bengalis, specifically, the Bengal (migrants from Bangladesh) and the Ghotis (native Bengalis of India). In West Bengal now, when the Euphoria of Durga Puja does not fade, the occasion of Laxmi Puja arrives. No matter how this occasion unites the cultural aspect of the Bengalis, Laxmi Puja is a small hint of the Bengal’s ghastly remembrance of the partition. The credit goes to the difference of the ritualistic customs that are followed by the two Bengali clans, the Bangals, and the Ghotis. No matter how they are united in appeasing the goddess of wealth to continue getting her blessings in the form of money and prosperity, they are equally divided in the very process of appeasing the eternal mother.
When the rest of India is celebrating Mother Laxmi in Diwali, the Bengalis celebrate this Puja on the auspicious occasion of Purnima of the full moon night that occurs just after the Dusshera. It is said that Bengalis culminate the essence of Durga Puja, by celebrating the glory of Laxmi in the Ashwin month, which roughly falls in the month of September or October according to the English calendar. At the day of the Laxmi Puja, Bengal has her undeclared holiday, because out of 100 houses, ninety-eight are perceived to be worshipping Mother Laxmi on that day. The Kojagori Laxmi Puja, as it is known, is the day when the Bengalis worship her to get her full blessings, on the full moon night, by singing her glory throughout the night. Almost entire Bengal, once again, after Durga Puja, gets covered by the colorful pandals of Mother Laxmi, even if it is conducted for one day.
Searching the identity of Bengali through Laxmi Puja
Laxmi Puja is intricately related to the harvest cycle of West Bengal. The original natives of Bengal, worship the Godly Lady during the many harvesting seasons of the state. The East Bengalis celebrate the Laxmi Puja with great show and pomp, by inviting hundreds of people as guests and serving all of them with the essential menus of the Laxmi Puja. In the earlier days, the Laxmi Puja is associated with good food, music, and dance; which now has narrowed down to music and food only. The immigrants, who now live in the West Bengal, also celebrated the occasion throughout the three days, with equal pomp. Laxmi Puja displays a ritual identity of the people of Bengal Bengal and this very occasion can reveal their identity of being a true bong by blood. Initially, Laxmi Puja was previously celebrated in two times by the clans of Bangaal and Ghoti, but now, between the dichotomy of the years, the separation has slightly faded up to a great extent and now, the puja is celebrated by all of them without any cultural difference. Be it’s the khichuri bhog or the pulav or luchi bhog, Bengalis have successfully managed to unite themselves in the grand feast of Laxmi Puja on the day of Kojagori Purnima. Visit Bengal to know more about this prosperous festival in details.
Featured Photo by luis perez