Varalakshmi is the mother that grants boons and fulfills all desires of her devotees. Vara + Lakshmi means the Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Lord Vishnu, who grants boons.
The festival occurs on a Friday around the full moon in Aadi, or, failing that the just before the full moon in Aavani.
Varalakshmi Vrata is performed by married woman for the well being of all the family members, especially their husband. It is believed that worshiping Goddess Varalakshmi on this day is equivalent to worshiping Ashtalaksmi, the eight Laksmis of Sri (Wealth), Bhu (Earth), Sarasvathi (learning), Prithi (Love), Keerthi (Fame), Shanthi (Peace), Santhushti (Pleasure) and Pushti (Strength). Women also prayed for being blessed with children.
Lord Shiva requested his consort, Parvathi to seek prosperity and happiness for the family, and married women everywhere adopted this viratham to seek boons (varam) for the health, wealth and knowledge for their families.
Her Gayatri Manthra is:
Om Mahalakshmyai cha vidmahe
Vishnu patni cha dhimahi
Tanno Lakshmihi prachodayat
The festival at Melrose temple is celebrated with ladies performing, firstly the Ganesha Pooja, and then the Varaluxmi pooja by making 108 offerings of kumkum on beetle leaves at the base of a decorated and lit Kuuthu Vilaaku.
Upon completion, the ladies take home the kumkum and add it to their existing stock and use as needed.