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 Psychological & Emotional Health

September 2009
Deepavali Lakshmi Puja
Anju Poddar
In the month of Karthik on amaavasya day, Badi Deepavali is celebrated. On this day, Shri Ram, Lakshman and Sita Mata returned to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile, and after defeating Ravana. The whole city was lit with deepaks to welcome them.

People celebrate by wearing new clothes, decorating the house, exchanging gifts, playing cards and bursting firecrackers. At sunset, puja is performed to Shri Ganeshji, Lakshmiji, Kuberji and the navagrahas. The women of the house observe a vrat (fast) for Lakshmiji. Food is eaten after Lakshmiji's darshan, ie after sighting a lit deepak in someone else's house.
Items required for Lakshmi Puja at home

  • 11/21/31/101 silver coins (every year puja is performed with the same silver coins)
  • Gold coins are optional. In some houses, people add the silver coins with which the puja was done on the Choti Deepavali day. In some houses, puja is done separately with different coins on Choti Deepavali and separate coins on Badi Deepavali.
  • 21/31 clay deepaks for the puja thali. Set a few extra deepaks aside to be placed around the house.
  • One four wick clay deepak, one clay dhoop daani, one clay kajlota (a clay pot to make kaajal).
  • Few wax deepaks to place around the house.
  • Sarson/ til oil for deepak, cotton wicks, matchsticks.
  • One large plate thali (any metal) to place all deepaks.
  • One small plate (any metal) to place the silver coins.
  • Fresh unboiled milk, roli, chawal, tooth powder, new toothbrush.
  • Ganeshji and Lakshmiji paintings, gota for decoration of the photo. New paintings are used every year for puja.
  • Clay idols of Lakshmiji, Ganeshji and their pictures bought on Dhanteras day are adorned with new clothes: dhoti and dupatta for Ganeshji and ghagra and odni for Lakshmiji.
  • Bright coloured silk cloth pieces to spread over the chowki and for covering the plates containing the silver coins.
  • Sweets made on Choti Deepavali – laddoo, petha, suhali and gujiya are placed in a thali to be used as Prasad.
  • Five laddoos set aside on a plate as an offering to Lakshmiji.
  • Water in a small kalash.
  • One large wooden chowki.
  • One peedha/stool kept aside for Lakshmiji to sit on.
  • Roli and chawal at two places; one for puja and one for family members'tilak.
  • A box of dhoop, agarbathi, a banana to be used as agarbathi stand.
  • Flower garland, loose flowers andlotus flowers for Lakshmiji
  • Keep aside some additional wicks and sarson oil with a spoon for refilling deepaks.
  • Thali for aarti.
  • Hand towels and spreads for people to sit on.
Food to be prepared for Deepavali day
  • Sweet rice, mogar (made of soaked moong daal), dahi wada, fried kair kareli, puri, kachori, fried papad, vegetables, sweets etc.
  • On this day daal, phulka, kichdi and plain rice are not made. Papad is not roasted. Remember not to include onion in the cooking.
  • Two thalis filled with all the prepared food are set aside before eating. One thali is for the pitars (ancestors). Before starting the meal, this thali is given to the Brahmin to eat. The second is for Lakshmiji, which is given to the brahmini on the next morning after Govardhan puja.
  • Some sweet rice is set aside for the women of the house to eat the next day after Govardhan puja.
Preparations to be made in the morning for the Lakshmi puja in the evening
  • After the morning bath, wear new clothes.
  • Seek blessings from the elders of the house.
  • The silver and gold coins are soaked in the vessel with milk, water and roli.
  • Silver idols of Lakshmiji and Ganeshji from the puja room are bathed with milk.
  • Scrub the coins with roli and rinse them with water. Any stains on the coin can be removed with tooth powder.
  • Put a scarf on a plate and place the gold and silver coins face up.
  • Decorate Lakshmiji and Ganeshji pictures with gota.
  • Decorate the clay idols of Lakshmiji and Ganeshji with clothes.
Evening Lakshmi Puja
  • Perform puja by applying roli to the pictures and clay idols of Lakshmiji and Ganeshji and to the silver and gold coins.
  • Deepaks on the thali are lit.
  • Laddoos are offered.
  • Flowers are offered.
  • Agarbathi, dhoop is shown.
  • Either the eldest woman of the house or the unmarried young girl applies tilak to the family members.
  • Pranam is done to the idols, to the mother-in-law and to the elders in the family
  • Token money is given to the motherin- law after touching her feet.
  • For the puja, leave the four wickslamp and seven caly deepaks in the thali. Place the remaining deepaks at various locations in the house: in the puja rooms, next to the tulsi plant, in the kitchen, the water container is kept outside the bedrooms.
  • Outside the entrance gate, two sets of seven deepaks are placed with the wicks facing each other.
  • A person is made to sleep in the puja room to ensure that the flame is kept burning by continuouslypouring oil.
Anju Poddar is a successful home maker fascinated by Hindu traditions and festivals. She has authored two well received books, A Journey to the Heavens and A Wedding in the Family.

    
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