Kathmandu, Nov 12: Today marks the celebration of Laxmi Puja, a significant day dedicated to the worship of the Hindu goddess Laxmi, the embodiment of wealth, affluence, and prosperity. Observed across the country, this auspicious day falls on the third day of the Tihar festival, coinciding this year with Narak Chaturdashi and Kukur Tihar, the day dedicated to the worship of dogs.
As part of the five-day Tihar festival, also known as Yamapanchak, Laxmi Puja is observed with fervent devotion. People engage in thorough cleaning of their homes and surroundings, illuminating their residences, and lighting butter lamps to symbolically ‘invite’ the goddess into their homes. The belief is rooted in the idea that Goddess Laxmi favors clean and tidy abodes.
The evening of Laxmi Puja, known as Sukha Ratri or the night of happiness, signifies the goddess’s arrival to bless households. To symbolize the welcoming of the goddess, devotees create footprint signs from their courtyards leading up to the main altar. As night falls, troupes of teenage girls from the neighborhood engage in traditional bhailo songs, accompanied by dance and merriment.
These bhailo troupes, in their vibrant cultural performances, visit households singing traditional songs. In return, homeowners, especially mothers, offer various presents such as paddy, rice grains, flower garlands, money, and ‘sel roti,’ a special delicacy cooked in ghee. The act of presenting these donations to the bhailo troupes is believed to attract blessings from the goddess to the house.
Night illumination becomes a spectacular sight as homes are adorned with electric lights and butter lamps, adding to the festive atmosphere. Additionally, some individuals follow the tradition of worshiping cows in the morning on Laxmi Puja.
Laxmi Puja, with its rituals and cultural festivities, brings communities together, fostering joy, prosperity, and the spirit of togetherness during the Tihar celebrations.