The Sharad Purnima or Kojagari Purnima or Kumar Purnima is a harvest festival celebrated on the full moon day of the Hindu lunar month of Ashvin. This year the occasion falls on 15th October, 2016.
Timings for the auspicious day of Sharad Purnima:
Moonrise On Sharad Purnima Day = 17:49
Purnima Tithi Begins = 13:25 on 15th Oct, 2016
Purnima Tithi Ends = 09:53 on 16th Oct, 2016
There is a traditional celebration of the moon and is also called the ‘Kaumudi celebration’, Kaumudi meaning moonlight. This celebrates Krishna dancing with the Gopis. Devotees also worship goddess Lakshmi. According to a folk-tale, once a king fell on evil days, and was in great financial straits, but then his queen observed this fast and night vigil, and worshiped the goddess of wealth, Laxmi. Consequently, they were blessed by the goddess and they regained their prosperity. According to mythological stories, Kojagiri Purnima is a combination of 16 kalas creates a human being with perfect qualities in it. We even heard that Lord Krishna had all 16 kalas within him, whereas Lord Rama had 12.
It is also believed that on this day as moon and the earth are very close to each other, the moon rays have certain healing properties of nourishing the body and the soul.
How to perform Kojagiri Purnima or Sharad Purnima
People sit in the moonlight singing songs, or keep themselves entertained in some other way. They fast from solid food and take only fluids like coconut water or milk. Milk is boiled until it thickens, and milk masala (called kheer, a readymade combination of dry fruits) is added to it and drunk. There is also a tradition to have cool milk and rice flakes on this night. It is a harvest festival and is celebrated throughout the country, particularly by Maharashtrians, i.e., by people residing in the state of Maharashtra in India and is similarly celebrated by other Marathi’s (People with Marathi mother tongue) in India and abroad. The eldest child of the family is also honored on this day.
In the western state of Gujarat, the night is known as Sharad Poonam. In Gujarat people celebrate it by doing Garba and Dandiya Raas.
Bengalis people call it Lokkhi Pujo and arrange several bhog and upachar for mother goddess Lakshmi.
There is an Ayurvedic reason behind consuming rice flakes with cool milk on this night. Sharad ritu (season) consists of two months of overlapping seasons when the summer is about to end and the winter slowly starts. During Sharad the days are warm and nights start to become cooler. This is perfect season for Pitta prakop when pitta vitiates along with other two doshas. Consuming rice flakes with milk during night time is good remedy to pacify pitta. Also known as ‘Kojaagari Punam,’ the festival is celebrated on Aso sud 15 – Purnima. Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth moves around in the night sky, asking `Ko jaagarti’ searching for people below who are awake. In Sanskrit, `Ko jaagarti’ means, ‘ Who is awake?’ And to those who are awake she gives wealth.