Dhanteras is a most celebrated festival in India. Dhanteras festival falls in the month of Kartik(Oct-Nov) on the thirteenth day of the dark fortnight. Two days before Diwali, Dhanteras is celebrated. In India, on Dhanteras, Lakshmi – the Goddess of wealth – is worshiped to provide prosperity and happiness. As the word itself explains, Dhan means wealth and ‘Tera’ means 13th. People are celebrating Dhanteras by lighting a lamp in evening. Dhan – Lakshmi is welcomed into the house. Some families are also making Rangoli in front of the door just to welcome the Goddess Lakshmi. Aartis are sung and fruits and sweets are offered to her. On Dhanteras Lord Kuber is also worshiped by Hindu. This custom of worshiping Lakshmi and Kuber together is in the prospect of doubling the benefits of such prayers.
People flock to the jewelers and buy gold or silver jewelry or utensils to venerate the occasion of Dhanteras.
There is a belief that on Dhanteras buying new clothes, Gold and silver are very good and it will increase the wealth and prosperity. New things which are purchase on Dhanteras will get 13 times growth over a year.
Story behind the Dhanteras
There was a story that the 16- year old son of King Hima. His horoscope predicted his death by snake-bite on the fourth day of his marriage. On that particular day, his newly-wed wife did not allow him to sleep. She laid out all her ornaments and lots of gold and silver coins in a heap at the entrance of the sleeping chamber and lit lamps all over the place. Then she narrated stories and sang songs to keep her husband from falling asleep.
The next day, when Yama, the god of Death, arrived at the prince’s doorstep in the guise of a Serpent, his eyes were dazzled and blinded by the brilliance of the lamps and the jewelry. Yam could not enter the Prince’s chamber, so he climbed on top of the heap of gold coins and sat there the entire night listening to the stories and songs. In the morning, he silently went away.
Thus, the young prince was saved from the clutches of death by the cleverness of his new bride, and the day came to be celebrated as Dhanteras. And the following days came to be called Naraka Chaturdashi (‘Naraka’ means hell and Chaturdashi mean 14th). It is also known as ‘Yamadeepdaan’ as the ladies of the house light earthen lamps or ‘deep’ and these are kept burning throughout the night glorifying Yama, the god of Death. Since this is the night before Diwali, it is also called ‘Chhhoti Diwali’ or Diwali minor.