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Festivals - Kojagari Purnima
 
The full moon day of Ashwin is called the Kojagari Purnima on which day people keep awake till late at nights be observing fasts. This ceremony owes its origin to the Kojagari Purnima Vrat sacred to the Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Indra on this night.

The ritual is to fast the whole day and after worshipping Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Indra at night break their fasts by offering coconut water and flattened rice to the Gods ad manes and partake it themselves. Again puja of Moon is performed and 'naivaidya' of condensed milk is offered. According to the scriptures, it is permissible to indulge in playing with dice or 'Akshkrida' on this day as an exceptional case, as gambling on this particular day is regarded to bring fortune. To play with dice late at night is considered to be meritorious.    

It seems on this Kojagari night Goddess Lakshmi visits every house asking "Ko Jagarti" meaning `who is awake' to ascertain. And those who are awake Goddess Lakshmi blesses them with fortune and prosperity. To welcome Her, Houses, temples, streets etc. are illuminated. A light is lit outside one's house lest Goddess Lakshmi the harbinger of Wealth and prosperity while going on her rounds overlooks and pauses to bestow Her blessings. The same reason applies for keeping awake the whole night. The whole custom of keeping awake and playing dice may be to signify that one should be alert and careful in life with one's savings due to frivolity and factualness of wealth. Coconut water, typical of fertility is drunk at midnight, probably as a precaution to keep oneself awake.
      
Rishi Valkhilya, it seems was asked by his followers as to which vrat was most conducive to fortune druing month. He replied it was the Kojagari Vrat as the most important of all, and narrated the story of Valit a poor Brahmin of Magadha. Valit was a holy man and very religious. To add to his poverty, unfortunately, he had a wife named Mahachandi who was very obstinate and harsh to him as he as he could not provide the comforts of life. She vow's that the would do the very opposite of what he told her until Lakshmi favoured them with fortune. When his father's anniversary day came, on the advice of his friend, he purposely told her he could not perform it. As per her nature, she insisted on performing it by calling Brahmins. Forgetting his friends advice, Valit asked his wife to throw the Pindas into the river but the obstinate wife consigned them to a cesspool.
      
Valit in disgust leaves his house determining not to return till Goddess Lakshmi favoured him. While wandering in the woods at midnight he meets with three Nagkanyas worshipping Goddess Lakshmi and performing Kojagari Vrat. After Puja they invite him to play the game of dice with them. It first he refuses saying gambling is a vice but on being convinced by them that this night was an exception. He joins. Initially he loses whatever trifles he had but Goddess Lakshmi who was on Her vigil pitying him helps him to win fortune and makes him handsome. Valit return home completely a changed man rich with money. His wife new welcomes him gladly and bath live happily ever after.
      
Another legend has it that a king to help a poor artisan buys a statuette which happened to represent the Goddess Lakshmi of poverty, the sister of Goddess Lakshmi of Fortune. With the result, the king becomes very poor, the Goddess of Prosperity and Fortune having left him refusing him to stay there lakshmi was. Only Dharma or Virtue continues to stay. But before departing they instruct the king follow certain commandments out of which one was `Watchfulness to the essence of night'. The king followed these percepts and never slept at nights. But finally through the diligence of his wife's worship of Goddess Lakshmi on Kojagari full moon night. This Kojagari Vrat or celebration coincides with the harvest festival. It is also called `Navanna' (new food) and from this day the new grain of the harvest is usually eaten. In an bent times `Kaumudi Mahotsav' was celebrated. The Ashwin Full Moon night is also known as `Kaumudi Purnima' and `Sharatpurnima'. After the monsoons the sky being clear the moon is ever bright. It is likely that the full moon shining with its beauty in the pleasant Sharad 'ritu' must have given its importance and tempted people to meet together enjoying and feasting under the canopy of the magnificent moonlight, giving birth to a Festival. In Rajasthan ladies clad in white and adorn with silver ornaments. On this night Rajputs worship the Full Moon and offer gifts to the Brahmins. The Kojagari Purnima is still observed today by get-together at nights more as a social event than solemnity or religiosity.

      
        
 
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