Vara Mahalakshmi Festival : Mahalakshmi is the goddess of wealth, auspiciousness and prosperity. She is worshipped for healthy progeny, as well as the health and long life of the husband. Vratha is observed on a Friday that falls before the full Moon day of the month of Shravanamasa (August - September).
The Vratha is as follows. Early in the morning women after taking bath, make a rangoli on the place where the kalasha is placed. They draw a lotus with 8 petals. The sacred Kalasha (brass/copper/silver) filled with rice and topped with fresh mango leaves, a coconut and cloth are placed on the mandala and Lakshmi is invoked. Goddess is invoked by decorating the Kalasa with flowers, jewellery, vastra (new clothes – saree) fruits, dry fruits, fresh grains, sweets and savouries. Some place coins, or rupee notes or make a garland of notes. The Vratha is performed with the beginning of Puja to Lord Ganesha. Then the main worship of Varalakshmi begins.
The raksha is worshipped for a second time and tied to the right hand of the woman. Articles are given as charity to sumangalis (married woman).In Sount India, savouries like obattu, kosumbari, puliyogare, huli anna, hesaru bele payasa are made on this festival. In the evening women visit other houses and exchange sweets and offerings.
Lord Narayana/Vishnu/Hari husband of Lakshmi, an embodiment of Shuddha Sattwa, is the preserver of the world. He is also called the Ashta Lakshmi Padhi. Lakshmi has 8 avthars (incarnation):
Adi (Protector) Lakshmi,
Dhana (Wealth)Lakshmi ,
Dhanya ( Food and Grains) Lakshmi,
Vijaya (Victory) Lakshmi,
Vidhya (Knowledge) Lakshmi,
Santana (Offsprings) Lakshmi,
Dhairya (Bravery and Strength) Lakshmi,
Soubhagya (Sumangali- Long life of husband) Lakshmi.
All becomes the embodiment of a ideal woman.
The importance or significance of the Varalakshmi Vrata was narrated by Lord Shiva to Goddess Parvathi in Skanda purana. Those who perform this Vratam will be blessed wtih Dhana (food), Dhanya (food), Aayu (Long life), Aarogya (health), Aishwarya (wealth), Santanana (progeny) and Soubhagya (long life of husband).
According to the legend, once a lady named Charumath lived in the Maratha kingdom. Pious lady, she indulged in whole hearthed worship of the Goddess and took good care of her family - respectful to her in-laws, loving and caring her husband and children. One day she dreamt about Goddess Lakshmi telling her to perform the puja . She, with the consent of her family performed this Vratam and informs other ladies too. With the blessings of the Goddess she, her family and friends will be bestowed with success and wealth. Hence forth they shared their luck many more people.
With the blessing of both Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi one can find peace and prosperity in ones life.