Lakshmi was the daughter of the sage Bhrigu and took refuge in the ocean when the gods were sent into exile. Lakshmi was reborn during the Churning of the Ocean. As soon as the gods saw Lakshmi, they all fell in love with her beauty. Shiva claimed Lakshmi as his wife, but since he had already taken the Moon, her hand was given to Vishnu, whom Lakshmi herself preferred.
Lakshmi is the goddess of light, beauty, good fortune and wealth. While Laxmi is generally worshiped to achieve success, she does not reside long with anyone who is lazy or desire her only as wealth.
Lakshmi Puja, or the worship of the goddess of wealth, is the main event of Diwali in North and West India. It is popularly believed that Lakshmi likes cleanliness and will visit the cleanest house first. Hence, the broom is worshiped with offerings of haldi (turmeric) and kumkum (vermilion) on this day. Lamps are lit in the evening to welcome the goddess as they are believed to light up her path. It is believed that on this day, the goddess walks through the green fields and loiters through the by-lanes and showers her blessings on mankind for glory and prosperity.
The second day of Diwali is believed to be the most auspicious day for performing Lakshmi Puja. With pomp and ceremony, Lakshmi is invited into the homes of devotees to partake of the gifts that are a part of the puja. The most auspicious time for the puja is decided when amavasya tithi prevails during pradosh kaal or the evening time. On this day, the sun enters its second course and passes the constellation Libra, which is represented by the balance or scale. Hence, the sign of Libra is believed to suggest the balancing and closing of account books.
Lakshmi Puja is celebrated as a part of Tihar, a second national festival of Nepal after Dashain. In Nepal, it is celebrated for five days, which include –
These are celebrated respectively on the first, second, third, fourth and fifth days.
On Lakshmi Puja in Nepal, people buy gold and silver, precious gemstones, new utensils of copper, brass and bronze as a sign of good luck, prosperity, money and wealth. These are then offerred to Goddess Lakshmi at night. Nepalese people perform this worship at a place cleansed with holy water, cow dung and red mud; they light the whole house with candles and lamps. From Lakshmi Puja, Deusi and Bhailo is played by gathering with friends.
Lakshmi Puja consists of a combined puja of five deities: Ganesha is worshiped at the beginning of every auspicious act as Vighneshwara; goddess Lakshmi is worshiped in her three forms; Mahalakshmi the goddess of wealth and money, Mahasaraswati the goddess of books and learning, and Mahakali. Kubera the treasurer of the gods is also worshiped..