Varalakshmi Vratam/ Vara Mahalakshmi Vrata is a festival to propitiate the Goddess Lakshmi. Varalakshmi is one who grants boons (“Vara”). It is an important pooja performed by many women in the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana,Tamil Nadu and northern Sri Lanka. The Hindu festival going by the name ‘Vara MahaLakshmi Vrata’ is celebrated on the Second Friday or the Friday before the day of the full moon – Poornima – in the month of Shravana, which corresponds to the Gregorian months of July–August.
Varamahalakshmi Vrata is performed by women for their own well being and that of all their family members. It is believed that worshipping the Goddess Varalakshmi on this day is equivalent to worshipping Ashtalakshmi – the eight goddesses of Wealth, Earth, Wisdom, Love, Fame, Peace, Contentment, and Strength. Due to the rising popularity of this holy day in some states, it is now being declared as an optional official holiday in India.
- women worship Goddess Lakshmi with utmost devotion offering fruits, sweets and flowers, usually a kalasam (representing the deity) will be decorated with a saree, flowers and gold jewelry with offerings placed in front.
- A rakshai/saradu (sacred thread) is among the offerings and adorned on the wrists of women after the pooja has been completed
Eight forces or energies are recognised and they are known as Siri (Wealth), Bhu (Earth), Sarasvathi (Wisdom), Preethi (Love), Keerthi (Fame), Shanthi (Peace), Santhushti (contentment) and Pushti (Strength). Each one of these forces is called a ‘Lakshmi’ aka:
- Aadi Lakshmi (the Protector)
- Dhana Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth)
- Dhairya Lakshmi (Goddess of Courage)
- Sowbhagya Lakshmi (Goddess of Prosperity)
- Vijaya Lakshmi (Goddess of Victory)
- Dhanya Lakshmi (Goddess of Nourishment)
- Santaana Lakshmi (Goddess of Progeny)
- Vidhya Lakshmi (Goddess of Wisdom)
All the eight forces combined are called the Ashta Lakshmis or the eight Lakshmis of the Hindus.