Lakshmi Puja, which falls on October 5 (Thursday) this year, is celebrated on the full moon day in the month of Ashwin in Hindu lunar calendar. Believed to be the birthday of goddess Lakshmi, it is also celebrated as Sharad Purnima, Kuanr Purnima or Kojagari Purnima — the harvest festival signifying the end of monsoon season. Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped during this festival, in addition to commemorating Krishna’s dance with the gopis. Sharad Purnima is also known as Kaumudi celebration which is the celebration of the moon.
Devotees offer their prayers and worship to Indra god too at this time. According to popular folklore, a king once fell into evil ways of life and his queen devoutedly prayed and fasted to goddess Lakshmi to turn his heart towards good. The goddess granted her wish and today believers everywhere fast during the night to commemorate the goodness of Lakshmi.
Interestingly, many also believe that on the Kojagari Purnima, the moon is positioned relatively closer to the earth and the rays of the moon reaching the earth have healing properties that can cure the mind, body and soul.
Devotees try to stay awake during the night of the festival because of the belief that the goddess showers her blessings upon those whom she finds awake on this night. While they fast, the people also sing devotional songs praising the goddess. People consume milk, coconut water and kheer (milk sweet made with dry fruits) during the night vigil.
The festival is celebrated as Lokkhi Pujo in Bengal, as Sharad Poonam in Gujarat and Kojagaraha in Mithila.
This is different from the Lashmi Puja which falls on the new moon day of Krishna Paksha or the dark fortnight in the Vikram Samvat Hindu calendar month of Ashwin, which is also the third day of Deepawali (Diwali). The puja constitutes the main event in Diwali celebrations. This year, the Deepawali Lakshmi Puja will fall on October 19.
According to drikpanchang.com, this is the puja vidhi and timings of Sharad Purnima Lakshmi Puja.
Kojagara Puja Nishita time: 23:44 to 00:34
Duration: 49 minutes
Purnima tithi begins: 01:47 on October 5, 2017
Purnima tithi ends: 00:09 on October 6, 2017