For the women folk, the month of Sravana is very auspicious. During this month, they perform the famous Mangalagouri vratam on all Tuesdays and Mahalakshmi puja on Fridays. Varalakshmi Vratam, the most important of festivals for women, falls on the Friday before the full moon day in Sravanam. It is believed that worship of Goddess Lakshmi will bring health, wealth and prosperity.
Varalakshmi is the Goddess Who gives the boons and the ritual associated with Her is Varalakshmi Vratam. For those who fail to perform the Vratam or the special puja to invoke the blessings of the goddess on that day, plan it such a way to do it on any Friday during the month. Large-scale arrangements are made by women for the occasion. One gets up in the wee hours -during Brahmi Murtham--and takes a bath for doing puja.
The households are cleaned and the entrances smeared with turmeric and kum kum marks are applied. A mandapam is set up on a rangoli on which rice is spread. A small vessel is placed on the rice for Kalasa on which a coconut is kept. A cloth is placed like a cap on the cononut and the features of the Goddess are also drawn on the coconut to make an image of Her to facilitate worship of the visual form. Small pots available with an image of the Goddess may also be used for the ritual.
Ganesa is worshipped first which is the usual practice before any puja or ritual and then, the main puja of Varalakshmi Vratam is performed. After the puja, women from the neighbourhood are invited for `Perantam’ and offered `Thambulam’.
According to legend, a brahmin woman Charumathi, an ideal housewife serving her inlaws and husband dutifully has a dream in which Goddess Mahalakshmi appears and asks her to perform puja to Varalakshmi. She, therefore, organizes the puja and invites her friends and relatives to the puja, after which Charumathi as well as all those who attend were bestowed wealth.. The ritual is performed by all irrespective of caste or creed and is very popular in north Andhra.
The market places are thronged by huge crowds of women on the eve of Varalakshmi Vratam. They buy gold and clothes, and the puja articles.