Vara MahaLakshmi Festival, Mysore

Rangolis for Vara MahaLakshmi Festival – South of India

As I started walking back home after the led class today, I realized it must have been a special day…. and it was not even 8 o’clock!

I noticed more women than usual outside the beautiful houses here in Gokulam, Mysore, cleaning and running around;

I noticed the rangolis, decorative designs put at the entrance meant to welcome the deities and freshly made each and every morning, were much bigger than usual and often containing flowers just in the middle;

I noticed women walking around the street picking up flowers from the trees;

I noticed there were different vibes in the air.

Fortunately I didn’t have to wait long before knowing what was going on… passing in front of a house with a beautiful rangoli made of differently colored salt (you can see it in the above picture), a kid told me: ‘beautiful, isn’t it?’ and than I found out that is part of the Vratha (Puja or offer) to Mahalakshmi, who is considered to be the Goddess of wealth, auspiciousness and prosperity. Hence, women performing the puja can get food, health, wealth, progeny and husband’s long life.

According to Karnataka website:

Vratha is observed on a Friday that falls before the full Moon day of the month of Shravanamasa (August – September).

The Vratha is as follows. Early in the morning women after taking bath, make a rangoli on the place where the kalasha is placed. They draw a lotus with 8 petals. The sacred Kalasha (brass/copper/silver pot) filled with rice and topped with fresh mango leaves, a coconut and cloth are placed on the mandala and Lakshmi is invoked. Goddess is invoked by decorating the Kalasa with flowers, jewellery, vastra (new clothes – saree) fruits, dry fruits, fresh grains,  sweets and savouries. Some place coins, or rupee notes or make a garland of notes. The Vratha is performed with the beginning of Puja to Lord Ganesha. Then the main worship of Varalakshmi begins.

The raksha is worshipped for a second time and tied to the right hand of the woman. Articles are given as charity to sumangalis (married woman)…… In the evening women visit other houses and exchange sweets and offerings

Why all those Indian festivals fascinate me so much???

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