Dhanteras, also known as Dhanatrayodashi, marks the first day of the Hindu festival of Diwali. Celebrated with great enthusiasm across India, Dhanteras holds special significance as a day dedicated to wealth, prosperity, and the worship of the goddess Lakshmi, the harbinger of good fortune and abundance.
The Rituals and Traditions:
Dhanteras falls on the thirteenth day of the dark fortnight (Krishna Paksha) in the month of Kartik, according to the Hindu lunar calendar. On this auspicious day, people perform various rituals to invite wealth and blessings into their homes.
- Buying Precious Metals:
One of the prominent customs of Dhanteras is the purchase of gold, silver, or other precious metals. It is believed that buying these metals on this day brings prosperity and good luck. The markets witness a surge in activity as individuals flock to jewelry stores to make their purchases.
- Cleaning and Decorating Homes:
In preparation for Diwali, homes are thoroughly cleaned and adorned with colorful rangolis, lamps, and decorations. It is believed that a clean and well-decorated home attracts positive energy and the blessings of the goddess Lakshmi.
- Lighting Diyas and Candles:
The illumination of homes with diyas (oil lamps) and candles is a symbolic gesture of dispelling darkness and welcoming prosperity. The warm glow of these lights is not only visually appealing but also represents the triumph of light over darkness.
- Offering Prayers:
Devotees offer prayers to Lord Kubera, the god of wealth, and Goddess Lakshmi on Dhanteras. Special pujas are conducted in homes and temples, accompanied by the chanting of mantras and the ringing of bells.
Legend Behind Dhanteras:
The celebration of Dhanteras is rooted in several legends. One popular myth revolves around the story of King Hima’s young son. According to the legend, the prince was destined to die on the fourth day of his marriage due to a snake bite. To prevent this, his newly-wedded wife cleverly laid out all her ornaments and gold coins in a heap at the entrance of their bedroom and kept him engaged with stories and songs throughout the night. The brilliance of the ornaments and the continuous storytelling prevented Yama, the god of death, from entering the prince’s chamber. This led to the tradition of keeping lamps burning throughout the night on Dhanteras to ward off evil.
In contemporary times, Dhanteras is not only a religious occasion but also a commercial one. The day witnesses increased sales of jewelry, electronics, and household items. Many people consider it an opportune time to make investments or major purchases.
Beyond the material aspects, Dhanteras serves as a reminder of the importance of wealth in a broader sense, including spiritual and mental well-being. It encourages people to reflect on the true meaning of prosperity and the values that contribute to a fulfilling life.
Dhanteras, with its rich traditions and customs, sets the stage for the grand festival of Diwali. It symbolizes the beginning of the festive season, bringing together families, communities, and the spirit of joy. As lamps flicker, prayers echo, and the scent of festive delicacies fills the air, Dhanteras remains a celebration of both material and spiritual abundance, fostering a sense of unity and positivity among those who partake in its festivities.