Dhanatrayodashi or popularly known as Dhanteras is the very first day of the Indian festival known as Diwali. This day is auspicious for many Hindus and every people of the Indian subcontinent. In the religious terminology, this festival comes up on the 13th day of the lunar cycle, or better known as the Krishna Paksha.
This festival is celebrated in the month of Ashwin or Kartik, which, in the English calendar is somewhere around November or January. The God who is the preacher of all the masterminds behind Ayurveda, Dhanvantari, is worshipped on this special day. Goddess Lakshmi and God Kuber are also worshipped on this pious occasion. Also, devotees believe that Goddess Lakshmi presented herself in front of her worshippers by coming out of the sea during the churning of the same by Gods on one side and demons on the other for nectar or ‘Amrita’. This myth has been prevalent in India for a long time.
Significance of the Festival
King Hima’s 16-year-old son’s story .is narrated all around the country during the festival of Dhanteras to remind the people of how Dhanteras originated and what is the importance of the Dhanteras puja vidhi. It was predicted that Hima’s son would be killed just on the fourth day after his marriage by a serpent. The prince’s new married wife, being the clever lady that she was made sure that the prince stayed awake throughout the night. She even took all her ornaments in a cluster and kept it before her doorstep. She also lit her entire room with beautiful candles and ‘diyas’.
She did not let her husband sleep by narrating stories and singing songs to him throughout the night. When Yamraj came to the castle in the disguise of a serpent to take the prince away, he could not enter the gates of the prince’s room. He was blinded by all the glitter and light that each ornament and candle gave out.
Also, as he tried but failed to enter beyond the gates, he remained near the entrance all night, listening to the stories and songs that the prince’s wife was narrating and singing. In the morning, Death had no option but to leave the house then and there. This is the way the prince was saved from Death itself by the cleverness of his wife.
This story has been narrated from one generation to the other. Also, the day after Dhanteras is known as Naraka Chaturdashi, or ‘Yamadeepdan’ which is celebrated with lights and lamps to keep the evil away from every house. This day is also known as ‘Chhoti Diwali’.
Dhanteras at Home
There have been questions like how to do Dhanteras puja at home, many times. For questions like this, the answer is right here. To celebrate Dhanteras at home all you have to do is make one huge Rangoli right in front of the home’s entrance and one in front of the ‘puja-ghar’ or room of the deities.
After making the Rangoli, the candles must be lit at every nook and corner of the home, to shun evil and keep the house brighter than ever. People generally celebrate the fact that God has provided them with health and prosperity. This festival is also termed as the celebration of wealth, in other words. The words Dhanteras can be broken down into two meaningful words, the first being ‘Dhan’ which means ‘wealth’ and ‘Tera’ which means 13th, since it is celebrated on the 13th day of the lunar cycle.
Along with the Rangoli, the Goddesses’ footprints are also made with white to depict the entrance of the Goddess at the household. This states that the Goddess, along with her, has brought it wealth and prosperity to the household.
Some of the Hindus, while maintaining the Dhanteras puja vidhi, also worship Kuber, who is believed to bestow wealth and riches as well. Many of the religious people also worship Goddess Lakshmi and God Kuber together to get more satisfaction and peace.
In Dhanteras, people from all over India, the crowd at jewellery shops to buy gold and silver jewels. This tradition has been a part of the whole Dhanteras celebration from time immemorial. It is believed that with the spark and glitter of new jewels, evil would be afraid to visit the house it belongs to. This might have been inspired by the story of Hima’s son and his wife. Some of the people try to engage gambling as a tradition that has been going on for generations.
The Myth Related to Dhanteras
This myth is one of the most prevalent ones related to Dhanteras. In the legendary war between the Gods on one side and demons on the other, Dhanavantri, the doctor of all the Gods and an incarnation of Lord Vishnu is said to have emerged due to the heavy churning from both the sides of the Sea for nectar or ‘Amrit’, with a pot full of elixir in hand. The word ‘Dhanteras’ is often thought to have come from the name Dhanavantri, who was supposedly God’s physician.
On Dhanteras, one of the many things that you can do is shop your heart out. Dhanteras is a festival specially dedicated to shopping. In this festival, not just food or clothes, but heavy priced things such as jewellery and are bought in abundance. As a matter of fact, in Dhanteras, people mostly shop for gold and silver jewellery. It is a ritual to buy at least made of gold or silver. Having said this, in Dhanteras, women participate in the shopping mostly. They buy gold jewellery for themselves and their family members since it is thought to be very important to do so.
Other than shopping for gold, people often shop for things that are needed for worship. Some women learn about how to do Dhanteras puja at home and buy every important thing from before so that they can conduct the ‘puja’ successfully. This is also a part of the Dhanteras shopping though they are done much before Dhanteras.
The online shopping sites also make a good profit during Dhanteras. These sites keep the brilliant collection from which people from all over India choose their best dresses and jewellery. Sometimes, the online stores make more money than the physical ones since they are quite reliable have great brands and collections and most importantly, can be ordered by sitting within the comfort of your home.
Other Important Parts of the Dhanteras Puja: At home, the older people often keep ‘bhajans’ and ‘kirtans’ for peace and calmness. ‘Bhajans’ and ‘kirtans’ are songs which are sung to praise God and His deeds. This is mainly done by the aged people who find solace in doing so. The young ones also join in and hum lines from the songs. This creates a healthy atmosphere at the household, where aged and young, all come together and celebrate the festival.
Lakshmi Puja is also conducted at home which finally brings the family together. Goddess Lakshmi blesses the entire family and showers the members with immense prosperity and wealth. It is also believed that families with businesses benefit from Lakshmi Puja tremendously.
Traditional Clothes on Dhanteras
People shop for ethnic clothes on Dhanteras from the shops or online stores. It is a traditional approach to wear ethnic clothes, for women, it is a ‘saree’ or ‘churidar’ and for men, it is ‘dhoti’ and ‘Punjabi’. This is one of the most important aspects of Dhanteras. On that day, specifically, even the little ones are asked to dress in traditional wear. People wear colour coordinated clothes with all the members of their family as well.
Sometimes, Dhanteras calls in for a grand party or tiny get together at a relative’s place. In this, people mostly try to attend by wearing traditional clothes. Even during Lakshmi Puja at home, the members of the family conduct the puja wearing proper ethnic apparel. This brings a different flavour to the puja which makes the entire house filled with liveliness.
Cleaning and Decorating the House: People often start cleaning their houses just before Dhanteras to welcome their guests with full zest and vigour. Apart from cleaning, the houses are decorated with flowers, other decorative materials and one of the best things, that is, candles, lamps and ‘diyas’. Putting these is the traditional way of decorating the house. Even today, people follow the traditional way mainly.
Dhanteras on Social Media and the Virtual World
Dhanteras is one important time when you get messages from your loved ones who could not attend the celebrations at home. The social media sites also get filled with best wishes for Dhanteras from people who genuinely care for you and your family. These messages come in the form of pictures or texts.
Certain online stores deliver gifts from your side to someone living far away on the special day of Dhanteras. These online websites make your life little easier since they help you select a brilliant gift and deliver it to the intended recipient on time. These gifts might even contain sweets or other perishable materials. The online store owners make sure that the gifts do not get ruined and are delivered to the recipient’s doorstep on or before time. Special care is taken for perishable goods.
Apart from that, video calling facilities and other extraordinary technologies have come up which helps people from two different parts of the world connect and witness the fun that each one of them is having at a particular moment. The Dhanteras puja vidhi which is happening at home can be seen and witnessed by a member of the family who lives far away.
Donate Something in Dhanteras: If Dhanteras is about buying some gold for yourself or your family, it is also about donating whatever you can, to the poor. Every festival more or less is about donating something or the other to the poor people who do not have enough money to buy something for themselves or their family. Donating food and clothes is one of the best ways to celebrate Dhanteras and Diwali. Happiness lies in involving every person of the community into the celebration. The ones who have enough can provide certain things to the ones who do not have enough. This is how brotherhood works and every festival demands human beings to show their love, affection, and adoration towards one another.
Dhanteras is one of the most important festivals or celebrations that every Indian household engages in. Dhanteras makes our household grow in prosperity and have enough or everything that we wish for. It is, by the grace of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Kuber that we get the spirit to earn money for ourselves and keep our loved ones happy. Thus, Dhanteras puja is one of the most auspicious and pious worships of India.