India Beckons wishes its readers a very happy Dhanteras.
Dhanteras, also known as Dhantrayodashi, marks the beginning of the five-day festival of Diwali and, according to the Hindu calendar, is celebrated on the thirteenth lunar day of Krishna Paksha (‘Dhan’ means wealth and ‘Teras’ means thirteenth). This is the day on which God Kuber and Goddess Lakshmi – the Gods of wealth and prosperity – are worshipped.
People commence their Diwali festivities and there is a tradition of buying gold and silver (and kitchen utensils) on Dhanteras to bring home prosperity. These metal items are the harbingers of luck and prosperity. Some families begin their five-day festivities by creating rangoli (with flowers and colored powder) outside their homes and start lighting diyas Dhanteras onwards. They continue to light diyas on the next day (on Narak Chaturdashi) and on the Kartik Amavasya or the Lakshmi pujan night – the night of Diwali. Sticking the feet of Goddess Lakshmi outside their houses – inviting her to visit their homes on Dhanteras and Diwali – is common.
Another legend is associated with the festival and celebration of Dhanteras. It is said that King Hima’s 16-year-old son’s death had been predicted on the fourth day of his marriage, through a snake bite. However, as the new bride got to know about it, she placed a heap of her ornaments at the entrance of the room and kept her husband awake throughout the night by singing and narrating stories.
When Lord Yama (the God of death) visited King Hima’s son in the guise of a snake, in order to bite him, he was blinded on seeing the dazzling metal, and instead sat on the pile listening to the new daughter-in-law’s tales. Since Yama missed the time set for the boy’s death, he slinked away in peace and the prince was saved, leading to the celebration of Dhanteras.
Buying metal and lighting diyas is considered as welcoming and bringing home lady luck to your house and warding off any evil spirits.
Happy Dhanteras to all – and happy buying gold, silver, and metal utensils to bring home lady luck and welcome prosperity and happiness into your homes.