Dhanteras is one of the most important Hindu religious festivals that are celebrated around this time of the year. Also known as Dhanatrayodashi, the festival is observed all over India. It also marks the beginning of Tihar festival in Nepal. ‘Dhan’ means wealth and ‘teras’ means the thirteenth day of the moon cycle. The festival also signifies the first day of the five-day Diwali celebrations and falls on the thirteenth lunar day of Karthik Krishna Paksha, of the Hindu month of Kartik (October-November).
This year, Dhanteras will be celebrated on October 28. Known as the festival of wealth, people worship Lakshmi (goddess of wealth) and Yama (god of death) on this day. It is believed that this one-day festival is an auspicious occasion to buy metals like gold and silver, and that doing so will bring prosperity and good luck for the entire family and their business ventures.
How is it celebrated
In addition to metals, people also buy new utensils. Colourful and intricate rangoli designs are drawn at the entrance of houses and offices to welcome Lakshmi — goddess of wealth, prosperity and good luck. Commonly using vermillion powder and rice flour, small footprints are made to signify the glorious arrival of the goddess.
Different regions celebrate the festival differently. For instance, in rural areas, farmers worship their cattle because they are their main source of income. In South India, people show reverence to cows, because they are known as the incarnation of goddess Lakshmi. In Maharashtra, people offer traditional sweets called ‘Naivedya’ made by lightly pounding dry coriander seeds with jaggery.
Many devotees perform Lakshmi puja on this day in the evening. They sing devotional songs and praises to and worship Lakshmi, and light tiny diyas in the house to ward off evils. Seven cereals including wheat, urad dal, moong dal, gram, barley and masoor dal are used while performing puja. In a tradition known as Yamadeepdan, people worship Lord Yama by lighting lamps for the entire night. According to mythology, it was predicted that King Hima’s son will die due to snake-bite of the fourth night of his marriage. Upon knowing this, the prince’s wife on the said night, took all her gold ornaments and coins and placed them in a heap. She then started singing melodious songs. When Yamaraj came in the form of a serpent to kill the prince, he was blinded by the shine of the gold and melodious voice and sat dazed, thus not killing the prince. Probably, this is why people consider it a harbinger of good luck to invest in gold on this day.
Given below are the particular timings of Lakshmi Puja on Dhanteras.
Dhanteras Puja Muhurat: 5:35 pm – 6:20 pm
Pradosh kaal: 5:35 pm – 8:21 pm
Trayodashi Tithi starts = 4:15 pm on October 27
Trayodashi Tithi ends = 6:20 pm on October 28
Also read | Tips to keep your pets safe this Diwali
It is advised that Lakshmi Puja is started only during pradosh kaal, which is the time of two hours and 24 minutes after sunset. Another important thing to note is that the most auspicious time for the puja is when the lagna or rasi (sign) remains fixed or sthir.