November 23, 2017, was celebrated as Sri Panchami. The specialty of the day was that it was a Thursday as well. On this day, Lord Ram and Goddess Sita were married. This event is celebrated in some temples and houses, with fanfare. Since Sri Panchami fell on Thursday this time, Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati are also worshipped for wealth and knowledge on this day.
On the day before Sri Panchami, curd rice should be had at night. On the next day, we should bathe with some turmeric powder and Gangajal in the water. Students should add some curd also in the water for bathing. One word of warning – we should avoid a head bath with turmeric water because the hair will turn white. The pooja should be done wearing yellow clothes and turmeric powder teeka on our forehead.
The idols of Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati should be placed on a small stool with a yellow ashtadala rangoli below it. Goddess Lakshmi idol can be of gold, brass or silver metal. If idols are not available, we can use photographs of the Goddesses, for this purpose. Panchopachara or Shodashopachara can be performed for both the Goddesses.
A ghee lamp with 2 threads (battis) has to be lighted near them. All the available mantras and stotras of both the Goddesses can be chanted. Milk payasam, curd rice, bananas, apple and white peda can be offered as naivedyam. Finally, camphor aarti is very beneficial.
There is a story connected to this festival. It goes as:
Once Mahalakshmi was offended and disappeared in the milky ocean. Everywhere there was a dearth of wealth and the Devas suffered. At that time, Lord Indra began to perform the pooja of Sri Panchami. All the Devas and Asuras also began to perform this pooja.
The milky ocean was churned; Goddess Lakshmi appeared and married Maha Vishnu. Prosperity came back. Since then this festival is celebrated. All those, who perform this pooja with devotion, reap benefits.