Dhanteras is the first day of the five days of Diwali festival and is rejoiced by the Indians all over the world with great gusto and enthusiasm. Dhanteras is also known as Dhantryodashi, Dhan means ‘wealth’ and Tryodashi means ‘13th day’. It is celebrated on the thirteenth Lunar day of Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) of the month of Kartika. The month of Kartika and the five long days of Diwali festival fall between the month of October or November. On Dhanteras goddess Laxmi is worshipped who is the goddess of wealth and prosperity and it holds special significance for the business community due to the customary purchases of precious metals on this day. As a belief of welcoming Laxmi at homes people purchase new things especially precious metals like gold and silver and electronic gadgets also on this day.
The first day of Diwali festival is Dhanteras and falls on the 13th day of Kartika month according to Hindu lunar calendar and this year Dhanteras is falling on 17th October 2017.
There is an interesting story behind the celebration of Dhanteras; once upon a time there was a sixteen year old son of King Hima. According to his horoscope was destined to die by the snake on the fourth day of his marriage. His very clever and ingenious wife was aware of this forecast and on that night she did not let her husband to sleep the whole night, she arranges all the jewelries, gold and silver coins and made a large heap on the doorway of her husband and she also light up numerous lamps all around the place of his husband. Then she narrated story and sang songs to keep her husband from falling asleep.
The next day when the lord of death Yama came into her husband’s place in a form of a snake, his eyes were dazzled and blinded with the illumination of the lamps and jewelries. He was unable to see anything and then he climbed up on the top of the heap and sat there the entire night listening to stories and song. The next day in the morning he silently went away. Thus the young prince saved from the clutches of death because of the cleverness of his new bride. Since that they the day is also known as ‘Yamadeepan’, the ladies of houses lights up earthen lamps or Diya outside the house and these are kept burning throughout the night glorifying Yama, the god of death.
Another interesting legend is when Gods and Demons churned the ocean for Amrita of nectar, Dhanvantari (incarnation of Lord Vishnu) came out carrying the jar of elixir or Amrita.
Houses and business firms or shops are well decorated and renovated on this day. Entrances are decorated with colorful Rangoli designs to welcome the goddess of wealth and prosperity. The houses are decorated with lights, door hangings, Bandarwal, artificial flowers and much more.
It is the custom of the festival to purchase silver or gold jewelries or utensils as a belief that new metal is a sign of good luck and will bring prosperity at home. In the evening Goddess Laxmi is worshipped with proper rituals and many people also worship lord Kuber on this day. The festival is celebrating since time immemorial and the sentiments and meaning related to celebrating Diwali festival is still the same only the way of celebrating festival is changed a bit, nowadays because of work obligations people are miles away from their family members and for that they use to send Diwali gifts to India online for making their loved ones happy in India and make the day special for them. Now one can easily do online Diwali shopping for Diwali essentials, Diwali decorations etc.