By Ramesh Savaikar | NT
Sharad Purnima, also known as Kojagiri purnima or Kaumudi Purnima is a Hindu festival which falls on Tuesday October 23, 2018, celebrated across the state with various religious rituals, music performances and cultural events.
Celebrated on a full moon day of Hindu lunar month of Ashwin, it marks the end of the monsoon season. In the night, Hindus observe Kojagara Vrata under moonlight after fasting during the day. Lakshmi, the Hindu Goddess of wealth is worshipped on this day.
Devotees break their fast by consuming flattened rice and milk after offering it to the moon god. According to Puranas, it is believed that Goddess Lakshmi goes around the earth to watch the actions of human beings. A Sanskrit scholar and renowned kirtan artist Ramkrishna Buva Garde says that according to Hindu beliefs Goddess Lakshmi while on this quest asks, ‘Ko Jagarti?’ (Who is awake?) She then bestows her blessings of wealth and prosperity on those found awake till midnight. Devotees perform puja of the goddess and offer her a naivaidya of flattened rice and milk.
On the night of Kojagiri the moon is at its brightest. It is believed that it drips ‘amrut’ onto planet earth on this day. So people stay awake throughout the night to receive the goodness of the moonlight (amrut) and rejuvenate their body. Kheer of milk and rice is prepared and placed it under open sky to absorb the moonlight, and this is consumed in the morning.
It is also believed on sharad purnima, Lord Krishna played the flute and all the gopies gathered around him. In most towns and villages in Goa, Kojagiri Purnima is also celebrated as the festival of harvest with music and cultural programmes. Youth and children participate in music and cultural programmes which mark the celebration of Kojagiri festivities.