Significance and importance of Sharad Purnima

Sharad Purnima (also known as Kojagiri Purnima, or Kaumudi Purnima) is celebrated on the full moon day of the Hindu lunar month of Ashvin. This year it will be celebrated on October 30. It is believed that the Moon shines with all sixteen Kala(s) on Sharad Purnima. As per the beliefs in Hinduism, each human quality is associated with a certain kala, and it is believed that the combination of all the sixteen kala(s) creates a perfect human personality. Lord Krishna, who is considered as the complete incarnation of Lord Vishnu, is believed to have been born with all the sixteen kala(s). 
As per another common belief, on this day, the moon rays drip nectar, so people prepare rice-kheer and leave it in the moonlight for the whole night, and in the next morning, it is distributed as prasad.  As per astrology, the Moon is closest to earth on this day. Its rays possess nourishing elements and healing properties that nourish our body and soul. It drips nectar as devotees keep 'Kheer' in the moonlight for the entire night.
Typically there are 12 Full Moons in an English calendar. However, if there occurs a blue moon, when there are 2 full moons in one month, there can be up to 13 purnimas a year. The Kojagari Purnima concerns the observance of the Kojagara Vrata. People perform this Vrata under the moonlight after fasting for the day. Lakshmi, the Hindu Goddess of Wealth, is significantly worshipped on this day as it is believed to be her birthday. The devotee breaks the fast at night by taking parched rice and milk after offering them to the moon-god. It is said in these Puranas that Goddess Lakshmi takes rounds of the earth to watch the actions of human beings during this night.
According to Ayurveda, the `pitta' or acidity aggravates at the end of the monsoon season. This is the reason why cooling foods are recommended to neutralise the pitta and balance it. The consumption of cold milk and rice flakes is supposed to be a good remedy for pitta.
In the Brij region, the areas around Uttar Pradesh's Mathura and Vrindaban, Sharad Purnima is also referred to as Raas Purnima. People in this region believe that Lord Krishna danced with the Gopis of Vrindaban on this day. It is called the Maha Raas. Many in the country, especially in West Bengal, people worship Goddess Lakshmi and refer to this festival as Kojagari Purnima. The devotees pray for the prosperity of their households.  In Odisha, Sharad Purnima is referred to as Kumar Purnima. As a part of the celebration, on this day, virgin girls, fast for the whole day, worships Lord Kartikeya for a suitable groom, and open their fast after worshipping the moon in the evening.
May Maa Laxmi come into your home and bless you with prosperity on this Sharad Purnima.
 

- Prabhakar Purandare

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