Diwali Festival of Lights Day 3: Lakshmi Puja

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The 3rd day of the Diwali Festival of Lights is the most important day of the festival for Northern and Western Indians and is traditionally known as Lakshmi Puja.  As the 15th day of the Hindu month Ashvin, this day is the new moon day of Amavasya.  Although it is Amavasya, or the dark night, it is regarded as a day of supreme auspiciousness and followers propitiate Lakshmi.   On this day Hindus devote much of their time to performing Lakshmi Puja, worshipping the Hindu Goddess of Wealth. Although Hindus perform Lakshmi Puja throughout Diwali, today is especially devoted to her.  Devotees light oil lamps throughout the day and focus on cleaning their homes inside and out.  It is believed that Lakshmi visits the most cleanly homes first, bestowing on them prosperity in the coming year.  She does not visit those who do not bother to live a cleanly lifestyle, deeming them unworthy of fortune.  The beating of drums and ringing of bells can be heard flowing from homes and temples as they pour out noise to summon the great Goddess.  It is a day of great joy and celebration.  Hindus believe that as Lakshmi visits earth she bestows upon them divine wisdom as she showers upon man blessings of plenty and wealth.