Laxmi Puja, also spelled as Lakshmi Puja is a popular Hindu religious festival observed in the month of Ashwin as per the Hindu traditional calendar, which as per the Gregorian calendar mainly falls in the month of October or November, on Amavasya—which is a new moon day, on the third day of the festival of Diwali. However, in some culture, such as in the state of Bengal, Laxmi Puja is observed after a few days from Vijaya Dashami, which marks the end of the popular festival of Navratri or Durga Puja in the country. Hence, for them, this year in 2017, Laxmi Puja will be observed on the 5th of October, while for the ones observing it during the festival of Diwali, it falls on the 19th of October this time.
It is believed as per tales of legend that Goddess Laxmi, who is the wife of Lord Vishnu comes to visit her devotees during this festival and showers them with wealth, gifts as well as lots of blessings. In order to welcome Goddess Laxmi in their houses, her devotees clean their places, decorate them with beautiful lights and other items, draw rangolis, prepare fine delicacies, so that the goddess is pleased and blesses them well. According to devotees, the happier Laxmi Ji is with her visit to their house, the more she would bless her devotees. According to legend, the goddess visits only those houses first, which are the cleanest and thus, this is the main reason that cleaning houses and offices thoroughly is one of the prime things on the to-do lists during the festival of Diwali. On Laxmi Puja day, the broom too is worshipped with haldi and sindoor.
The ingredients used in Laxmi Puja are the following: Silver and gold coins, uncooked rice, 10 betel nuts, coconut, five mango leaves or paan leaves, water in a lota, red vermilion for tilak, Indian sweets, oil lamps, colored powders (Holi like), incense sticks, dry fruits, camphor, a Puja thaali, raksha sutra, panchamrita, flower petals, rose water, water, a red cloth piece, Puja oil to light up the lamps, icons of Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesha, Goddess Saraswati, and of course, Goddess Laxmi.
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