The first full moon day of the month of Ashwin is known as Sharad Purnima. It is also referred to as Rasa Purnima, or Sharath Purnima. The festival is also referred as Kaumudi Festival, Kaumudi meaning moonlight.
The bright light on this full moon day marks the changing season, the end of monsoon.
Sharad Poornima is also known as Kojagari Poornima. It is believed that on this night Goddess Lakshmi visits from place to place asking “Kojagari??” meaning “Who is awake” and bless those who are found awake. Hence people don’t sleep this night and spend whole night by playing games, singing and doing all amusing activities.
- Many rituals are practiced on this festival of bright moonlight. There is general practice of preparing kheer (Sweet dish made by boiling milk and mixing cooked rice along with sugar and dry fruits) and offered before God.
- In some areas, the full moon is not seen directly instead it is seen on a vessel filled with boiling milk.
- Some people thread a needle on this full moon night under the rays of the moon. This is said to improve one’s eyesight.
- The most common practice is of keeping the prepared kheer, poha (Rice flakes) or sweets in moonlight through out the night and distributed as Prasad on the next day.
It is considered that the moon and Earth are at the closer distance on Sharad Purnima night due to this the rays of the moon have several curative properties. It is believed that keeping food under the moonlight nourishes the body and soul.