Worshipping the goddess of wealth and prosperity, Lakshmi, many devotees come together to celebrate Varalakshmi Vratam every year. Varalakshmi, meaning the one who grants wishes or boons, is worshipped by people, especially women, in the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The festival falls on the Friday before full moon day in the month of Shravana in the Hindu calendar. This year the festival is celebrated on August 4.
Vrat or the day of fasting is commemorated by married women, who pray for the well-being of their loved ones in the family, for their husband and for their future generations. One of the common beliefs is that worshipping goddess Varalakshmi on this day is equivalent to offering prayers to Ashtalakshmi or the eight goddesses of Wealth, Earth, Learning, Love, Fame, Peace, Pleasure, and Strength.
Devotees believe that goddess Parvati observed rigorous fasting for Lord Parameshwara and for the happiness and prosperity of her family. Commemorating Parvati’s devotion and love for her consort, many married women began fasting for the well-being of their husband and children. They begin the day by waking up early and take part in fasting.
They abstain from certain foods throughout the day, which changes from one region to another. For instance, while there are no rules to follow in some regions, in others women are only offered Thamboolam — a combination of slaked lime, betel leaf and areca nut. They perform Varalakshmi pooja wherein they offer flowers, sweets and fruits, known as Vayana, to the goddess. A brass pot known as the ‘kalash’ representing the goddess, filled with rice or water, coins, betel nut and five different kinds of leaves, is wrapped in a saree, on which a swastika symbol is drawn using vermillion and sandalwood paste. Mango leaves and a coconut with turmeric smeared on it is kept at the mouth of the vessel and flowers and gold is kept in front of the pot, as offerings to the goddess.
The next day, the water from the pot is sprinkled all around in the house and the raw rice grains are used to prepare a meal for the family.
Here are the muhurta timings for Varalakshmi Vrata, according to drikpanchang.com
Simha Lagna Puja Muhurat = 06:44 to 09:01 (morning)
Duration = 2 Hours 17 Mins
Vrishchika Lagna Puja Muhurat = 13:37 to 15:56 (afternoon)
Duration = 2 Hours 18 Mins
Kumbha Lagna Puja Muhurat = 19:42 to 21:10 (evening)
Duration = 1 Hour 27 Mins
Vrishabha Lagna Puja Muhurat = 24:10+ to 26:05+ (midnight)
Duration = 1 Hour 55 Mins