Dhanteras 2017: History, significance and rituals of this day that kickstarts Diwali | art and culture | Hindustan Times
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Dhanteras 2017: History, significance and rituals of this day that kickstarts Diwali

Diwali festivities begin with Dhanteras (October 17). It is marked by people worshipping the Goddess Lakshmi and buying metal utensils and ornaments for prosperity.

art and culture Updated: Oct 17, 2017 08:47 IST
HT Correspondent
Dhanteras is marked by buying of jewellery and metal utensils to symbolise prosperity.
Dhanteras is marked by buying of jewellery and metal utensils to symbolise prosperity. (HT file photo )

Dhanteras is part of the Diwali festivities, and on this day, Hindus buy new metal utensils as well as gold and silver ornaments. It is believed that doing so pleases Goddess Lakshmi who showers prosperity all year round on the household. People also stick ready-made footprints of Goddess Lakshmi to symbolise wealth and prosperity.

The word Dhanteras (or Dhantrayodashi in Maharashtra) symbolises wealth or “dhan” while “tera” refers to the 13th day of the Kartik month when the festival is held. It marks the beginning of the festivities of Diwali, which include occasions like Lakshmi Pujan and Bhaidooj (or Bhaubeej in Maharashtra).

One of the legends behind this festival narrates the story of the 16-year-old son of King Hima whose death was predicted by a snake bite on the fourth day of his marriage. His wise wife didn’t allow her husband to sleep on that day. She also collected ornaments and coins in a heap at the door of the bedroom and lit lamps everywhere.

When Yama, the god of Death, arrived as a serpent, his eyes got dazzled by the lamps and the jewellery and he is unable to enter the room. He sat listening to the stories that the king’s wife narrated to keep her husband awake all night long. When morning came, Yama went away without taking her husband. Thus, she saved the life of her husband.

Another legend says that while the ocean was being churned by gods and demons to extract Amrita or nectar, Dhanvantari (the physician of the gods) emerged from the ocean and hence, the day is celebrated as Dhanteras.

During the Dhanteras Puja, Kuber, the god of wealth is also worshipped. The timing for the Puja this year is between 7.32 pm to 8.18 pm.

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