Dhanteras festival also known as 'Dhantrayodashi' or 'Dhanvantari
Triodasi' is one of the most significant festivals of India. On this
festival Goddess Laxmi is worshiped to bestow her devotees with good
fortune and success in life. On the special event of Dhanteras,
articles made of Gold or Silver or even a new utensil are purchased as
a sign of good luck .
The auspicious occasion of Dhanteras holds an important place in
Business community of India and celebrated with utmost divinity and
enthusiasm. As the festival of Dhanteras is observed two days before
Diwali, it also marks the beginning of grand festivity.
When is Dhanteras Festival
Dhanteras festival has got its name from two words 'Dhan' meaning
wealth and 'Teras' that means thirteenth. Dhanteras or Dhantrayodashi
comes every year in the thirteenth lunar day of Krishna Paksha in the
Hindu month of Ashwin (October/November). Usually this festival is
celebrated two days prior to Diwali.
Celebrations of Dhanteras
On this day, homes and offices or the places of business are renovated
and decorated. Entrances are made colourful with beautiful traditional
designs of Rangoli to welcome the Goddess of wealth and prosperity. As
a symbol of the arrival of Goddess Laxmi small footprints are drawn
with rice flour and vermilion powder all over the houses. Small diyas
of clay are lighted through the night to keep the evil spirits away.
The festival of Dhanteras is considered to be auspicious for purchase
of gold, silver and any other new article. On this day devotees buy
new jewellery, car, even homes and dates for marriages are also fixed.
In the evening "Lakshmi-Puja" is performed singing
"Bhajans"-devotional songs- in praise of Goddess Laxmi and "Naivedya"
made of traditional sweets is offered to the Goddess. In villages
cattles are considered sacred and incarnation of Laxmi therefore on
this day Cows are adorned and worshiped with great devotion.
Legends of Dhanteras
Legend of King Hima and Yamraj
The son of King Hima was doomed to die on the fourth day of his
marriage by snakebite. On that particular fourth day of his marriage
his young wife did not allow him to sleep. She laid all the ornaments
and lots of gold and silver coins in a big heap at the entrance and
lighted lots of lamps all over the place and she went on telling
stories and singing songs. When Yamraj, the God of death arrived there
in the guise of a serpent, the dazzle of those brilliant lights made
his eyes blind and he could not enter the prince's chamber. Since then
this day of Dhanteras came to be known as the day of "Yamadeepdaan"
and people buy some item of jewellery and keep a lamp lit nearby all
The legend of Sea Churning
The legend of Samudramanthan (Sea Churning) is at the heart of these
celebrations. According to this story, when the gods and demons
churned the ocean for Amrut or nectar, Dhanavantri, the physician of
the gods and an incarnation of Vishnu emerged carrying a jar of the
The festival of Dhanteras is also known by the names of
Dhantrayodashi and Dhanvantari Trayodashi (Dhanwantari
Trayodashi). It is the festival that marks the beginning of the diwali
celebrations and therefore it is considered the first day of five days
long festivities of diwali. The term 'dhanteras' consists of two factors
'dhan', which literally means wealth and 'teras', which means
thirteenth. Here thirteenth is meant to indicate the day 'Trayodashi',
on which dhanteras falls. Dhanvantari Trayodashi (Dhanwantari Trayodashi)
is celebrated on the thirteenth lunar day of Krishna Paksha, of the
Hindu month of Kartik, that is two days before diwali.
Legends have it that Lord Dhanvantari who is the physician of the Gods
and an incarnation of Lord Vishnu came out of the ocean that was churned
by the Gods and the demons on the day of dhanteras. Lord Dhanvantari
appeared with Ayurvedic for the welfare of the mankind.
Another interesting story famous about dhanteras is related to the son
of King Hima and his intelligent wife. It was predicted about him that
he would die on the fourth day of his marriage. And the reason behind
his death would be snakebite. When his wife came to know about such a
prediction she decided not to let her husband die and for this she made
a plan. On the fourth day of their marriage she collected all the
jewellery and wealth at the entrance of her husband's boudoir and
lighted lamps all around the place. And she started telling stories and
singing songs one after another in order to not let her husband sleep.
In the mid night Lord Yama, the God of death arrived there in guise of a
snake. The bright lights of the lamps lit by the wife of the king's son
blinded His eyes and he could not enter their chamber. Therefore Lord
Yama found a place to make himself comfortable on top of the heap of the
jewellery and wealth and kept sitting there for the whole night waiting
to get a chance to bite the king's son. But as the wife of the king's
son kept telling stories and singing songs for the whole night therefore
he could not get any chance and in the morning he left the place
quietly. Thus the wife saved her husband's life from the cruel clutches
Since then the day of dhanteras is also known as the day of 'Yamadeepdaan'
and it has become a tradition to light a diya on dhanteras and to keep
it burning throughout the night in reverential adoration of Lord Yama,
the God of death.
The people worship Lord Yamaraj, the God of death, on this day and light
a 'Yama-Diya' in the night to offer prayers to Him to bless them with
prosperity, well being and protection.
The people purchase a new utensil, silver or gold coin or some other
precious metal as a sign of good luck on the day of dhanteras. This is
also a tradition related with celebrations of the festival of
The day of dhanteras has great importance for the mercantile community
of Western India.
There is a peculiar custom in Maharashtra to lightly pound dry coriander
seeds with jaggery and offer as Naivedya.
In the rural areas the cultivators worship their cattle because they
form the main source of their income and livelihood.