Ayudha Pooja is celebrated on the Navami (ninth day) of the ‘Valar pirai’ (Moon’s brightening 15 days of the cycle) which usually falls in the month of September or October.
Significance of Ayudha Puja
Ayudha Pooja is a day of ‘Worship of tools’. Right from the weapons used by soldiers to tools used by artists, mechanics, plumbers, welders, children’s implements like pen and pencil, tool worship is performed on this day. It is a gesture symbolizing work as worship. It can also be seen as invoking God to be a part of their implements and guide them throughout their profession. The celebration is also a form of thanksgiving to god for the wellness being bestowed upon their business.
The celebration honors all three supreme goddesses of Hindu mythology – Goddess Saraswati (goddess of wisdom), goddess Lakshmi (goddess of wealth) and Goddess Parvati (goddess of power).
Rituals for Ayudha Puja
All machines and tools are cleaned and decorated with a tilak of sandal and kum kum. Houses are cleaned and floral decorations, festoons and garlands beautify the houses. More than houses, Ayudha Puja is considered as the prime carnival in factories and business establishments. All factories wear on a festive look with decorations. Machines and equipment are cleaned and Puja is performed in the office.
The most noteworthy aspect of the festival is the Puja performed on vehicles. All vehicles including cycles and bikes in houses to a large number of trucks, auto rickshaws and lorries in factories, vehicles are paid their due respect. All vehicles are cleaned, painted and slashed with ashes (Vibudi). Tilak of kum kum are found in vehicles with a spray on sandalwood smeared with turmeric. Garlands made of fresh flowers beautify the vehicle and in some cases, small banana trees are also tied to the vehicle. Puja is started with the lighting of incessant sticks. A coconut is broken followed by the Aarti. It is a mark of respect shown towards the vehicles that enable easy functioning of business and also a prayer to the goddess to invoke safe and secure journey in the future. In large establishments, it is a wonderful sight to see all the vehicles beautifully decorated and parked in the premises.
As a custom, sweets, fruits, beetle leaves, beetle nuts and puffed rice (Pori) is distributed to all staff members. The day is considered auspicious to initiate new ventures in business. New business trips, purchase of vehicles, lands, admission in schools are all some of the activities encouraged to be carried out on the day of Ayudha Puja.