For Heena Mehta’s 20-member joint family, Wednesday will be a time for uninhibited shopping.
Everybody buys themselves a valuable trinket to celebrate Dhanteras, and this year, the Vile Parle resident has decided to buy a gold chain.
“Dhanteras is the worship of wealth, and it is necessary to purchase silver or gold for luck, whether in small or large quantity,” said Mehta (44), an event manager.
For most Hindu communities, Dhanteras is the official beginning of the festive season — it signals five days of wearing new clothes and eating lavish food, and the lamps that are lit on this day are kept burning till the end of Diwali.
“Holding pujas of gold and silver does not imply greed — if we worship dhan (wealth), we will not misuse it,” said Nalinee Madgavkar, a music teacher from Dadar.
Starting Wednesday, most Maharashtrian and Gujarati families will also begin their rounds of cooking Diwali
sweets and snacks, from sev-chivda and ladoos to ghugra and fafda.
However, Bengalis in the city will prepare a special dish of 14 green leafy vegetables to bring in Dhanteras.
“All varieties of green vegetables are abundant in Bengal, but they are not easily available in Mumbai,” said Sujata Ghose, a housewife from Powai who will also light 14 diyas at her doorstep to drive out all darkness from her home.
“Dhanteras falls on the day before new moon, and so 14 is an auspicious number,” she said.