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Navaratri
It is the festival of nights, which lasts for nine days and each goddess is worshipped for three days i.e. Ma Durga, Ma Lakshmi and Ma Saraswati is worshipped.

1st - 3rd day of Navratri
On the first day of the Navaratras, a small bed of mud is prepared in the Pooja room of the house and barley seeds are sown on it. On the tenth day, the shoots are about 3 - 5 inches in length. After the Pooja, these seedlings are pulled out and given to devotees as a blessing from god. These initial days are dedicated to Durga Maa, the Goddess of power and energy.

4th - 6th day of Navratri
On these days Lakshmi Maa, the Goddess of peace and prosperity is worshipped. On the fifth day, which is known as Lalita Panchami, it is traditional to gather and display all literature available in the house, light a lamp or 'diya' to invoke Saraswati Maa, the Goddess of knowledge and art.

7th - 8th day of Navratri
These final days belong to Saraswati Maa who is worshipped to acquire the spiritual knowledge. This in turn will free us from all earthly bondage. But on the 8th day of this colourful festival, yagna (holy fire) is performed. Ghee (clarified butter), kheer (rice pudding) and sesame seeds form the holy offering to Goddess Durga Maa.

Lakshmi Pooja
Goddess Lakshmi is the goddess of abundance and the better half of Lord Vishnu. The word 'Lakshmi' is derived from the Sanskrit word Laksya, meaning 'aim' or 'goal', and she is the goddess of wealth and prosperity, both material and spiritual. Lakshmi Pooja is celebrated on the full moon night of Kojagari Purnima.

Lord Vishnu declared Indra the king but he was so much engrossed in pleasure that he neglected his royal duties. The earth was left ungoverned and so the goddess dissolved herself in the ocean of milk.

Everything came to a standstill and not a single material had any value. Everything was barren and the cosmos became an isolated place with no laughter and joy.

To bring back peace and prosperity the gods and the demons started churning the ocean of milk. Pleased by their effort the goddess finally emerged as Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Lakshmi is depicted as a beautiful woman of golden complexion, with four hands, sitting or standing on a full-bloomed lotus and holding a lotus bud, which stands for beauty, purity and fertility. Her four hands represent the four ends of human life: dharma or righteousness, kama or desires, artha or wealth, and moksha or liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

On the full moon night following Dasshera or Durga Pooja, Hindus worship Lakshmi ceremonially at home, pray for her blessings, and invite neighbors to attend the Pooja. It is believed that on this full moon night the goddess herself visits the homes and bestows the inhabitants with wealth. A special worship is also offered to Lakshmi on the auspicious Diwali night.

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