53 Week Journey through the Land of Drapes and Colors: Week #23
For details on all the sarees I have posted so far, go here.
Happy Varalakshmi Vratam!!
Varalakshmi Vratam is a Hindu festival that falls on the Friday before the Full Moon in the month of Shravana - which is usually July or August per the Gregorian Calendar. It is celebrated by people hailing from most of Southern and Central states in India. It is a festival to offer prayers and perform pooja (= act of worship) to Goddess Lakshmi to provide one with vara (= boon).
The pooja is performed by women of the household to for their own well being and their families and friends as well as for health and prosperity. If interested to know more about the festival, read here.
Every year since past six years I have been doing this pooja as well. Last two years though I had my parents with me. As always this year also I did the pooja with a bit more decorations that I normally do (inspired by my cousin Vinni who is superb with the decorations). Not as elaborate as hers but I did more than what I normally.
For this festival I wore this Blue-Grey Banarasi Kora Organza Saree with Zari and Silk. It has an orange border that runs through the length of the saree. There are beautiful brocades woven through the rich fabric in various designs; silver and gold threads are woven along with Zari within. The brocades are usually made of warp and weft.
Banarasi sarees came into existence during the Mughal period of ruling in India, when the Muslim weavers and artisans settled in Banaras aka Varanasi, a city in norther Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, for their crafts and sales. Influenced with Muslim culture, Banaras sarees are often infused with intricate designs of floral and leaf motifs called as Kalga and Bel respectively. Usually a string of leaves called Jhallar, is also commonly seen along the edge of the border of these sarees. The one I wore instead of silk has Kora Organza woven through the fabric.
During my recent short trip in March to India before the pandemic hit, my mom gifted me this saree. It comes with a matching blouse which makes the saree look all the more better. I accessorized it with orange-red beads with silver and gold plated jewelry, a red stone and white pearled chaabi guccha at my waist and color coordinated bangles on my wrists.
One of my favorite things to do for any festival is Rangoli - an art form created on floor using colored rice, dry flour, colors, sand or petals. Now that my knees and bones hurt a lot due to all the treatments I went through, I am unable to do large designs. So I stick to smaller ones like this one below. You can see above, I am posing with Rangoli in the act of doing it. :)
And now here are the decorations and pooja pictures of the day after the pooja has been completed; obviously with a small spread of festive dishes. I forgot to take individual pictures but you can see a collection of them on the silver plate in the second picture.