Lakshmi Puja Festival of Odisha

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lakshmipuja

With the harvest brought home the farmers feel greatly satisfied with the yield. After six months of toil in the field, they fill the granaries with the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi. So, the whole month of margashira (Dec-January) is spent in worshipping the Goddess. All the rituals connected with the festival (Manabasa Gurubara or Lakshmi Puja) is done by house-wives themselves. On each Thursday of the month the houses are plastered with cow-dung, the floors are decorated with beautiful floral designs drawn with rice-povvder mixed with water. This is called ‘Jhoti’. Footmarks are painted from the doorstep to the place of worship as if Goddess Lakshmi has entered the house. The roofs are decorated with flower garlands and festoon woven out of paddy stalks.

After purificatory bath in the morning the housewives worship the Goddess, not through an image but significantly through paddy-measures. Different varieties of rice-cakes and Kshiri (rice-soup prepared with milk and sugar) are prepared in every house hold and are offered to the deity and then taken by all.

In the evening the Laxmi Purana is read or recited in which an interesting story is told. Once Shreeya, an untouchable woman worshipped Goddess Lakshmi by observing this festival. Being moved by her devotion Lakshmi left Her permanent abode, the temple which is situated inside the campus of the temple of Lord Jagannath and visited Shreeya’s house. When Lord Balabhadra, the elder brother of Lord Jagannath came to know about this, She was declared defiled and was not allowed to come back into the temple. Lakshmi was deeply hurt and went to her father Sahara.

When Lakshmi went out of the temple all wealth in the temple started vanishing. Later the Gods Balabhadra and Jagannath couldn’t find food to sustain themselves. They came out of the temple in the guise of Brahmin beggars in search of food. Ultimately they landed at the door of the Goddess Lakshmi. Balabhadra apologised for the mistake and all of them returned to the temple.

The Purana ultimately teaches all to pay extreme regard to Goddess Lakshmi and the person who disregards Her is sure to fall on evil days. This means that wealth should be well-protected and properly used and misutilisation of wealth is sure to make a person suffer.

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