Kojagara Puja - Rituals And Significance
Kojagara Puja is regarded as one of the most auspicious days in Hindu religion. It is meant for worshipping Goddess Lakshmi in the Ashwin month on Purnima. The day is celebrated with immense joy and pleasure in the states of Assam, West Bengal, and Orissa. According to the Gregorian calendar, it is celebrated in the month of October or September.
The festivity is also popular as ‘Bengal Lakshmi Puja’ or ‘Kojagari Purnima’. Goddess Lakshmi is the deity of wealth, happiness and prosperity and, it is believed that worshipping Goddess Lakshmi on the day of Ashwin Purnima, the devotees get blessed with abundant wealth and prosperity.
The eve of Kojagara Puja is also called as ‘Sharad Purnima’ in some areas of the nation. In few parts of Bihar and Bundelkhand, the festival is celebrated at a grand level. The most auspicious timing for observing the puja rituals is midnight or Nishita Kaal. The major and significant aspect of the Puja is to keep vigil over the night i.e. the devotees are required to perform a midnight Jagran. The term Kojagara (Ko + Jagara) represents the one who keeps vigil over the night. The devotees who perform midnight jagaran and then observe Lakshmi Puja are bestowed with divine blessing of Goddess Lakshmi.
What are the rituals of Kojagara Puja?
The festivity of Kojagara Puja comprises several rituals and customs
- At the time of Kojagara Puja, the devotees worship and offer prayers to Goddess Lakshmi. The idol of the deity is placed or installed in the pandals or homes. The rituals of performing Kojagara Puja varies from place to place and religion to religion
- Under the guidance of a priest, devotees observe a Lakshmi Puja
- Narkel bhaja, taaler phol, naru, khichuri and sweets are offered to Goddess Lakshmi in order to seek her divine blessings
- On this particular day, women draw Alpana in front of their houses as it represents the feet of Goddess Lakshmi
- It is believed that, on this day, Goddess Lakshmi visits all the households and bestow her divine blessings for good fortune and immense prosperity
- The devotees keep the vigil over the night and recite mantras, kirtans, and bhajans in order to please the Goddess.
- To welcome the Goddess, devotees illuminate their houses with earthen lamps and lights.
- Devotees also observe a fast on this day and abstain themselves from consuming food and drinking water throughout the day. After completing all the rituals and offering coconut water and flattened rice to Goddess Lakshmi, the devotees can break their fast.
What is the significance of Kojagara Puja?
Kojagara Puja is observed to please Goddess Lakshmi. According to the Hindu beliefs, the Purnima which falls in the Ashwin month is recognized as the ‘Night of Awakening’ and it is believed that Maa Lakshmi appears on the Earth to bless the devotees. The devotees who observe the puja rituals with utmost devotion are blessed with prosperity, wealth and divine blessings of the deity. In the states of North India, the festivity of Kojagara also coincides with the harvest festival.