What comes rushing to your mind on hearing about Dhanteras? Sweets, Diya, crackers, special treats? From buying gold or silver on Dhanteras to decorating the whole house with diya and rangoli, these festivals brighten our life.
Do you know why you buy gold or silver or any other metal on Dhanteras? If not, let me list down some interesting facts about this festival.
What is Dhanteras?
Dhanteras is a Hindu festival celebrated one day before Diwali. It is also known as Dhantrayodashi; this day marks the beginning of Diwali and prosperity.
Mythology at its best/The root of Ayurveda
The mythological story behind Dhanteras is really a fascinating one. The story goes like, the gods and demons churned the ocean for Amrita – the elixir of life. Lord Dhanvantari, the physician of gods and an epitome of Vishnu, showed up with an urn in hand containing the Amrita and that day was marked as Dhanteras.
Guarding fate against premature death
Have you thought as to why we observe Dhanteras? The traditional stories go like, the 16-year-old son of King Hima was cursed to die by a deadly snake bite on the 4th evening of his wedding ceremony. Knowing this, his wife, denied to let him sleep. She laid out her elegant jewellery and gold near her husband’s bed and lit lamps and started singing. When the god of death, Yamraj, disguised as a serpent, visited the prince, he left the prince unharmed.
The story of the farmer
One of the famous tale associated with Goddess Laxmi and Lord Vishnu and a farmer. When Goddess Laxmi visited the earth with Lord Vishnu, she disobeyed him and broke his conditions of not falling prey to earthly fancies. She attended a farmer’s field and enjoyed the sugarcane juice. As punishment, Lord Vishnu told her she would have to spend twelve years as a labourer on that farmer’s field. The farmer grew wealthy with the arrival of Laxmi and twelve years went in a flash, but, he did not want to let her go. However, when he and his family took a pilgrimage to the river Ganga, Goddess Ganga revealed Laxmi’s true identity. Laxmi assured the farmer that she would visit every year on the Dhanteras day. She asked the farmer to clean his house and light a lamp for her. According to Hindu rituals, Lakshmi Puja is done in Pradosh Kaal roughly 40 minutes after sunset.
Customary purchase and Evening Pooja
As per Hindu belief, buying a valuable metal on this day helps to bring prosperity and good luck. Thus it is common to buy any metal on Dhanteras.
Customarily, Lakshmi puja is performed during the evening of Dhanteras. Clay diyas are lit to chase away evil spirits from the house.
Chaturdashi in eastern India
The spirit of Dhanteras is celebrated in the east of India as Kali Puja and Dipanwita Lakshmi Puja. It is usually celebrated one day before Diwali. It is customary to beautify the house with at least 14 diyas to drive away the evil spirits.
Rituals and Worships
It is popular in many regions to observe Dhanteras by drawing rangoli and strategically arranging diyas on it. The rangoli is supposed to have a captivating effect on prosperity. In some regions, copper vessels are filled with water, tulsi leaves and are kept in different parts of the house.
In various parts of the cow belt, the domestic animals are cleaned and worshipped on the auspicious occasion of Dhanteras.
Deep Dan to Yama
Yamadeepdaan is prevalent among many communities to offer thirteen diyas to Lord Yama know as ‘Deep Dan’. By doing so, it is believed to extend the lifeline of the family members and avoid premature death. Lamps are lit at the entrance facing south along with some coins. These lamps are kept lit throughout the night and prayers are offered to ward off evil and death.
In almost all parts of the country, sweets are offered to deities and are shared among friends and families. What else can make this beautiful celebration better than having a chance to be with family?