On 5th November this year, the shops will be spilling over with people who will be seen shopping for gold, silver, automobiles, utensils and even property. The day before Diwali, Indians go traipsing to shops and stores to splurge on expensive and valuable items. Why? Because its Dhanteras, of course!
What is Dhanteras?
Celebrated two days before the actual Diwali, ‘Dhanteras’ is a day for buying and spending money. The word Dhanteras is made of two words – ‘Dhan’ which means wealth and ‘Teras’ meaning 13th, which refers to the 13th day. Dhanteras falls on the 13th lunar day of the Krishna Paksha in the month of Kartik (Oct-Nov).
What is the Significance of Dhanteras?
‘Dhanteras’ is celebrated as a remembrance that wrongs in a fate can be corrected by right actions (karma). According to Indian traditions, people believe that Laxmi, the Goddess of knowledge and wealth came out of the sea on this day to bless people. It is believed that you need to do a thorough cleansing of your body, mind, and soul before welcoming Laxmi into your homes. The God of wealth and prosperity, Kuber is also worshipped on this day.
The story goes that if you buy valuable products on this day, it is assumed that the Goddess Laxmi will enter your homes bringing you more wealth. The businessmen and merchant communities in India buy new goods and precious items for the next year.
Legends Behind Dhanteras
Another legend goes, that in a horoscope of King Hima’s sixteen-year-old son learned that he would die on the fourth day of his marriage by a snake bite. On that particular day, the prince’s newlywed wife laid all her ornaments and coins in a heap at the entrance of her husband’s chamber, lighted lamps all over & starting singing and telling stories to keep him awake all night.
Yama, the God of Death arrived in the form of a snake to kill the Prince. But his eyes got blinded by that dazzling jewelry and he could not enter the prince’s chamber. In a trance-like state, he sat on top of the heap and spent the whole night listening to the wife. In the morning, the snake realized his fault and slithered away sparing the prince’s life. Hence people celebrate by buying gold and valuable things to keep the evil away.
An incarnation of Vishnu, ‘Dhanvantari’, the God of medicine is also worshipped. It is said he emerged from the seas carrying a jar of elixir on this day. Taking care of your health on this day is considered important. Dhanteras gives you good health for the rest of the year.
So this Dhanteras, go purchasing and welcome wealth and prosperity into your lives!