Sharad Purnima, or Sharad Poonam, is an immensely popular festival of the Hindus.
According to the Gregorian calendar, it is celebrated on the full moon day, ‘Purnima,’ during the Shukla Paksha of the Hindu calendar month, ‘Ashwin.’ This usually falls in September-October. Sharad Purnima is a harvest festival and marks the end of the monsoon season in India.
The festival has a special significance for the Vaishnavism followers (Hare Krishna sect). On the day of Sharad Purnima, Lord Shri Krishna performed the ‘Raas Lila’ with his beloved Radha and other Gopikas in Vrindavan. So, Sharad Poornima is also known as ‘Raas Purnima.’
It is considered that the night of Sharad Poornima is the night of love when couples express their love to each other in the moonlight.
Sharad Purnima is also celebrated as ‘Kaumudi Puja,’ ‘Kumar Purnima,’ or ‘Kojaagari Purnima.’ It is predominantly a harvest festival and marks the end of the monsoon season and the beginning of India’s winter season.
Sharad Poornima is widely celebrated in various parts of India, including Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Bihar, and Andra Pradesh. As Sharad Poonam is associated with Lord Krishna, it is celebrated with much fervor and enthusiasm in most parts of the northern region of India, particularly in Mathura, Vrindavan, Braj, and Nathdwara.
The Significance of Sharad Purnima
Sharad Purnima is regarded as one of the most sacred Purnima(s) in the Hindu Religion.
It is believed that on Sharad Poonam day, the moon shines with all its sixteen Kala(s). In Hinduism, it is believed that a perfect human personality consists of sixteen different Kala(s). Each human quality is linked with a specific Kala.
Lord Krishna is believed to possess all sixteen Kala(s) and is considered a complete incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Sharad Purnima is celebrated so that we may be blessed with divine qualities and attain fulfillment in life.
As Raas Purnima is associated with the moon, worshipping God Chandra Dev is considered auspicious by the Hindus. People, especially newlywed women, observe a full-day fast on Sharad Poornima.
On Sharad Purnima, the moon rays get enriched with certain healing qualities that go on to nourish our body and soul. According to Hindu Astrology, the moon is closest to the earth on Sharad Poonam and possesses healing qualities.
Moreover, Hindus believe that on Sharad Purnima, moon rays drip nectar. So, they prepare Rice Kheer, a famous Indian sweet dish, and leave it under the moonlight for the whole night of Sharad Poonam. This Rice Kheer gets invigorated and fortified with the moonlight and is distributed as ‘Prasad’ amongst the morning’s family members.
Sharad Poornima is also celebrated as Raas Purnima in the Braj region of northern India. Hindus believe that on Raas Purnima, Lord Krishna performed Raas Lila, the divine dance of love, with his beloved Radha and other Gopikas.
Sharad Purnima Rituals
- On Sharad Purnima, people, especially newlyweds, keep a day-long fast. It is believed that by keeping Sharad Poornima ‘Vrat’ (fasting), one is blessed with good health, happiness, and wealth.
- Sharad Purnima is dedicated to the worshipping of Lord Krishna and the Moon God.
- On Sharad Poornima, devotees offer prayers to Goddess Lakshmi to seek her divine blessings. It is believed that Goddess Lakshmi descends on Earth on Raas Purnima and blesses devotees who stay awake all night with prosperity and wealth.
- People prepare Rice Kheer and other sweet dishes made out of milk and leave it under the moonlight on Sharad Purnima’s night. The preparations are believed to be enriched with the curative properties of moon rays. It is later distributed and consumed as ‘Prasad.’
- People throng temples in large numbers. Special religious programs are organized in temples to mark this important Hindu festival.
- People stay awake the whole night on Sharad Poornima. They sing songs dedicated to Lord Krishna, Goddess Lakshmi, and Moon God. They spend their evenings under the moonlight to benefit from the curative elements of moon rays.
Sharad Purnima Vrat Katha
According to a popular legend, a moneylender (Sahukaar) lived with two daughters long ago. Both of the daughters were married. However, while the elder daughter was pious and religious, the younger daughter was cruel and hardly followed any religious customs.
The elder daughter was an ardent devotee of Goddess Lakshmi and observed the Sharad Purnima fast with devotion and religious customs. However, the younger daughter never observed Sharad Poornima rituals. As a result of this non-devotion to Sharad Poornima, the younger daughter’s children never survived. Her children used to die as soon as they took birth.
Once, it so happened that the older daughter visited her younger sister’s house. The younger sister offered her a seat on which she had knowingly placed his dead child. When the elder sister touched the dead child, it got alive. This moved the younger sister, and she started crying.
She said that due to Sharad Purnima Vrat’s observation by his sister, her child had got life back. She promised that from now on, and she would also observe Raas Purnima fast with all devotion.
From that day, the Sharad Poornima Vrat became famous and was being observed by many people. It is believed that if one observes Sharad Poornima fast with all devotion and worships Goddess Lakshmi, they are blessed with good health, happiness, and wealth.
It is also said that Goddess Lakshmi blesses devotees who stay awake on the night of Sharad Poornima and do religious activities. On Sharad Poornima, Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped.
Sharad Purnima Date 2023
Sharad Purnima will be celebrated on the 28th, October 2023, Saturday.
Moonrise on Sharad Purnima Day will be at 05:09 PM
Purnima Tithi starts at 04:17 AM on 28th October 2023
Purnima Tithi Ends at 01:53 AM on 29th October 2023
There is a widespread custom to fast on Sharad Poonam Day. People also worship Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Krishna. Then, they spend their evening under the moon’s rays and stay awake all night on Sharad Purnima.
Keeping fast on Sharad Poonam is believed to bless devotees with health, happiness, and richness. They also prepare Rice Kheer and keep it under Moon rays as it is believed that the moon on Raas Purnima Day is enriched with curative properties. They later distribute the preparations as ‘Prasad.’
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