The legend of Varalakshmi Vratham is that Goddess Varalakshmi appeared in a woman devotee named Charumathi’s dream and expressed her satisfaction in the woman’s devotion towards the Goddess. This pooja can be done with no restriction to caste or creed. To this day many women observe this traditional festival praying Varamahalakshmi for her blesses in form wealth and well being of their family.
Varalakshmi Pooja & Vrata is performed by married woman for the well being of all the family members, especially husband, to get progeny etc. It is believed that worshiping Goddess Varalakshmi on this day is equivalent to worshiping Ashtalaksmi – the eight goddesses of Wealth, Earth, Learning, Love, Fame, Peace, Pleasure, and Strength. Eight forces or energies are recognised and they are known as Sri (Wealth), Bhu (Earth), Sarasvati (learning), Priti (love), Kirti (Fame), Santi (Peace), Tushti(Pleasure) and Pushti(Strength). Each one of these forces is called a Lakshmi and all the eight forces are called the Ashta Lakshmis or the eight Lakshmis of the Hindus. Vishnu is also called Ashta Lakshmi Padhi which is equivalent to saying that he is the asylum for the eight-Lakshmis or forces. In fact, Vishnu representing the preservative aspect of the universe, radiates these forces from him. These forces are personified and worshiped as Lakshmis, since abstract force is beyond the comprehension of the ordinary people. As health, wealth and prosperity depend upon the rhythmic play of these forces, the worship of Lakshmi is said to be to obtain these three. This festival is observed largely by women, invoking the blessings of Lakshmi on them, their husbands and their children.
On this occasion women worship Goddess Lakshmi with utmost devotion offering sweets and flowers, usually a kalash(representing the deity) will be decorated with a saree, flowers and gold jewelry with offerings placed in front.
During this auspicious day, married women gets up early in the morning; traditionally speaking the waking up time for the puja is at the Brahma Muhurtham. and decorate their front yards with rangolis. Later they take oil bath and wear new cloths and jewellery. Also they start preparing neivedhyam for the pooja and decorate the kalasam. They sing praises of the goddess and also invite another married woman to don the role of Lakshmi and offer them sweets. That evening, the neighbours are invited to the home and offered tamboolam. Together they sing hymns in praise of goddess Varalakshmi.
In some areas, women place a mirror behind the kalasham. Today, there are also specially made Varalakshmi pots available in the market.
The kalasham is usually placed on a bed of rice. First Lord Ganesha is worshipped. Then begins the Varalakshmi Puja. The puja consists of singing slokas dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi like the Lakshmi Sahasranamam. Arati is performed on the kalasham. Different types of sweets are offered. Some people offer pongal. In some areas women tie yellow thread on their hands.
The woman who is observing the Varalakshmi Puja abstains from eating certain kind of food and this varies from region to region. In some regions, women fast till the puja period.
Thamboolam consist of betel leaf, areca nut and slaked lime is offered to women in the locality and in the evening an arati is offered.
The next day, after taking a bath the kalasham is dismantled and the water in the kalasham is sprinkled in the house. If rice is used then it is mixed with rice in the house.