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Kumar Purnima

Time: Full moon day of month Ashvin ( October )
Description : Sharad Purnima is known as Kumar Purnima or Lakshmi Puja in Odisha, an eastern state of India. Kumar Purnima is the full-moon day in the month of Ashvin in October. This autumn festival is one of the most popular and important festivals of Odisha. 'Kumar' or Kartikeya, the handsome son of Shiva started war against Tarakasur on this day. He also became the God of War. As young girls always wish for a handsome husband, they propitiate Kumar who was most handsome among the Gods. But, peculiarly enough there is no ritual for the God, instead the Sun and the Moon are worshiped.

In the early morning the girls after their purificatory bath wear new garments and make food-offerings to the sun. They observe fasting for the day. In the evening when the moon rises they again make Puja offerings of a special variety and take it after the rituals are over. It is a festival of rejoicing for the girls. All of them sing and dance. Many areas of caostal Odisha the unmarried folk wear new clothes. The songs are of special nature like 'Kuanra punei jahna go '.They also play a kind of game known as Puchi khela. They also indulge in other varieties of country-games. On this day the son-in-law is also honoured with gifts.

This day is also observed as the birthday of Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth along with elephants is worshipped . Therefore, many people worship the Goddess at their homes and keep themselves awake by playing 'Pasha' (Dice) (especially in parts of southern Odisha) and other indoor games. Significantly it suggests that those who wish to acquire wealth should always be vigilant at night. It is for this reason that the owl, a bird that sleeps in the day and comes out only at night is worshipped. Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped by devotees in different pandals and household in and across the state of Odisha, especially in Kendrapara, Puri and Dhenkanal. The pandals are decorated with beautiful decorations.

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