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Date: 27th October, 2016

The festival of Dhanteras marks the beginning of Diwali celebrations. It is also known as Dhanwantari Triodasi, Dhanvantari Trayodashi, and Dhantrayodashi and falls in the Hindu month of Karthik on the sacred thirteenth lunar day of Krishna Paksh. According to Gregorian calendar, the festival of Dhanteras usually rejoiced in the month of October or November. The word ‘Dhan’ stands for wealth and ‘Teras’ means thirteen. Hindus also buy gold, silver, and new stuffs on this day as it is considered holy. On this day, people worship Goddess Lakshmi to bring good luck, longevity, and prosperity in their lives.

Akin to other Indian festivals, Dhanteras is deeply connected with some mythological folklores. Let’s pass an eye over some of the most popular myths, which are associated with Dhanteras celebration.

Legend of Dhanwantari

According to Hindu folklore, when demons and Gods were roiling the sea to get the nectar of immortality (amrit), God Dhanvantari appeared. On this day, the incarnation of Vishnu and a physician of all the Gods, Dhanvantari emerged out with a pot of divine nectar. Therefore, the worship of Lord Dhanvantari has become an essential part of Dhanteras celebrations.

Legend of Yamadeep Daan Ritual

As per this interesting folklore, the King Hima was doomed to lose his life due to snakebite on the fourth day of his marriage. The wife of young prince made a plan to save the life of her husband. On the forecasted day, she placed all her silver and gold ornaments at the entry gate and lighted up the entire home with lights and lamps. The wife of King Hima sang songs and narrated stories all night long to ensure that her husband did not fall asleep.

At the predicted time, Lord Yama arrived in the appearance of a serpent to bite the king, but lights dazzled the eyes of Yama. He then sat on the bundle of ornaments, spent the entire night, and left the place in the morning. This plan saved the wife of young prince from the cruel clutches of death. Since that day, light are illuminated all night long to pay reverence to Lord Yama.

Customs and Traditions of Dhanteras

The consecrated festival of Dhanteras is beautifully connected with the worship of Goddess Lakshmi. People on this day draw small footprints with vermilion and rice flour at the entrance to welcome Goddess Lakshmi. Many people also keep fast and they break it after sunset. Buying gold, silver, and utensils is one of the most prominent customs of this festivity. New utensils are placed at worship place to seek prosperity and wealth from Goddess of wealth. In the evening the Puja is performed, clay diyas are lighted up to repulse the evil spirits. Devotional songs are sung and traditional sweet delights are offered to near and dear ones. To pay reverence to God of Death, Lord Yama, Lamps and lights are kept burning all the night to welcome the God and the Goddess.