Sharad Purnima2018 Dates, time, Significance and Rituals

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By: Manmeet Kaur Tura

Sharad Purnima is celebrated as the harvest festival in India. Sharad implies to the Sharad Ritu or autumn season of the year. The festival has immense religious significance and is celebrated by devotees all across the country. It is said and believed that Maa Lakshmi was born on this day and if the devotees’ stays awake all night and offer prayers to Maa Lakshmi, she bestows them with wealth and prosperity. Many devotees fast and perform all the rituals as a tribute to Maa Lakshmi on this day as well.

Sharad Purnima 2018- Dates and Time
2018 Sharad Purnima falls on Tuesday, 23rd October 2018. The Purnima tithi Starts at 22:36 on 23rd October 2018 and ends at 22:14 on 24th October 2018. Kojagara Purnima is a very importance fast and prayers that people observe on this day in order to gratify Goddess Maha Lakshmi. 


Significance of Sharad Purnima
It is believed that moon is in full brilliance on the day of  Sharad Purnima. According to mythological beliefs it is said that the moon trips Amrit on the earth on this day which makes it a very auspicious day for the believers. The moonlight on the night of Sharad Purnima is believed to have healing medical and nourishing properties. The devotees stay awake all night under the moonlight and have the belief that it rejuvenates their body. People prepare kheer or milk rice and place it under the open sky to be absorbed by the moonlight.  In the morning it is consumed to get the phenomenal powers of moonlight for health and happiness.


Solid foods should be avoided while practicing  the Kojagara Purnima fast. Once the fast is completed, the devotees must end the fast with a mixture of cold milk and rice flakes. Cold milk is significant in this fasting ritual as it has its importance in Sharad Ritu. In the Sharad season, the days are hot and the nights are cold and in such weather, acidity is a common occurrence. Therefore, cold milk mixed with rice flakes is an effective remedy to keep this problem at bay.

This festival is celebrated with great fervor  in Gujarat as well as West Bengal and is known as Sharad Poonam in the west coast.  It is one of the key festivals celebrated in the east after Durga Puja. In Odisha, it is renowned as Kumar Purnima, i.e. the birthday of Lord Kartikeya.

Sharad Purnima ritual to get a suitable groom
Sharad Purnima has great significance for unmarried girls. On this day unmarried girls observe fast and perform rituals and worship Lord Kartikeya to seek a perfect husband. Many believe this is a day of the worship of the sun and the moon. No particular god is worshipped on this day but the nature itself. All can observe the Purnima fast. The fast begins on the morning of the Purnima day and ends on the next day morning during sunrise. 

 

Sri Krishna’s Rasaleela on Sharad Purnima 
Another belief attached to Sharad Purnima is that on this day Lord Krishna began his Raasleela with his Radha and his Gopis. Rasaleela is a very fascinating miracle performed by Krishna. It is said that the gods who had to be blessed with the fruits of their merits were born as Gopis to get pleasure from the divine leelas of Krishna. So on this day Krishna played his divine flute for all the Gopis and with his miraculous powers he multiplied himself and danced with each Gopi throughout the night. It is believed in the mythological stories that through his divine powers, Krishna prolonged the night for so long that it made the Gopis feel as if they enjoyed the dance with Krishna for over a thousand years.