Dhanteras is a combination of two words “Dhan” which means wealth in Hindi and “Tera” which refers to the number thirteen. It is basically a celebration of wealth on the 13th lunar day of the month as per the Hindu Calendar. The festival is followed by the Chhoti Diwali and then finally the Diwali, the festival of lights.

# Significance of Dhanteras


It is believed that this is the day when Goddess Lakshmi, who is also the Goddess of wealth, was born from the ocean when the Devas (angels) and the asuras (demons) churned the milk sea. Also referred to as the Dhanatrayodashi, on this day, people worship both Goddess Lakshmi and the God Kubera, who is referred as the God of wealth, according to Hindu religion. The day is considered very auspicious and all the necessary clothes and utensils for the celebration of Diwali are bought on this day. Most of the businessmen invest in gold and other commodities on this day as it believed to bring good luck to them.

Another story goes that Lord Dhanwantri, is born on the day of Dhanteras which is the reason for many people to invest in gold and silver on this day. People also worship the seven essential cereals believed to be providing them sustenance namely wheat, urad, moong, masoor, gram and barley on this day. Most people buy coins bearing the picture of Goddess Lakshmi or God Ganesha on this day as it is believed to multiply their wealth.

# Light and wealth


There is yet another story of a young prince, son of King Hima who was predicted to die by snake bite four days after his marriage. It is said that his wife lit lamps all around the room and kept all the gold and silver coins across the room which dazzled the eyes of the snake which came to bite him, thereby saving his life.

Even today, diyas are lit by the women of the house and it is believed that it will help ward off evil spirits. Also, the house and the office are decorated beautifully to welcome the Goddess Lakshmi, the bringer of prosperity and wealth. In fact, buying wealth items like gold and silver is looked upon as the arrival of wealth into the household. A girl child born on this day is relished with much celebration as she is considered as Goddess Lakshmi herself.

# Celebrations


The celebration is not just about buying gold or silver, it is also considered as an opportunity to get together with family. In some places, people fill water in copper vessels and put tulsi leaves overnight in them. The same is distributed to everyone during the puja next day. The houses are decorated with colorful rangolis outside and vermillion footprints are made to indicate that Lakshmi is walking into the house. There are sweets offered to the Goddess and devotional songs sung on that day. It is a celebration to pray to the Gods to offer us wealth, prosperity and health.



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