Dhanteras Festival - Legend and Celebration

Dhanteras is the festival observed by the Hindus and the Buddhists in India. This day is also known as Chhoti Diwali. Kartika Krushna Tharyodashi is the day when this festival is observed. People clean their houses and light diyas in the evening with the purpose to invite prosperity and wealth into their home. It is a custom to make a purchase of metals on this day which people necessarily do. Be it gold or silver or a simple kitchen ware purchasing metal is considered auspicious on this day. The market is full of people who throng the shops to make purchases. There is a very interesting legend related to the observance of this day.

The Legend Behind Dhanteras

There is this ancient legend that explains the reason why this festival is observed. King Hima had a 16 year old son. It was predicted through his horoscope that his life would come to an end due to snake bite on the fourth day followed by his wedding. When that day arrived his new bride urged him not to sleep and kept him awake all night. She brought all her jewelry and heaped it at the entrance along with a lot of gold and silver coins. She also lit a lot of lamps in the surrounding. In order to help her husband stay awake she kept narrating many stories to him and also sang songs for him. When Yama came to the palace he could not make his way to enter the prince's room because his eyes were all dazzled by the sparkle of the precious metals. He was blinded by it so he just sat on the heap of the ornaments and coins and listened to all the stories and song of the prince's wife. The next morning he left the palace quietly. Thus the life of the prince was spared and the credit was acknowledged to the wit of his new bride. This day from then on began to be celebrated as the day of Dhanteras and is still being celebrated centuries later.

Important to traders and businessmen

Traders and business men pay special attention to Dhanteras. They decorate their shops and business premises and make them clean. The entrances are decorated with Rangoli and traditional motifs. Wealth and prosperity are invited by making small footprints with vermillion powder and rice flour. The entire night lamps are made to burn. Homes are also decorated in similar fashion to attract wealth and prosperity on their doorstep.

Buying Metals are Auspicious

It is considered auspicious on this day. People make purchase of precious metals and kitchen wares on Dhanteras. Making such purchase is a symbol of favorable luck. People perform Lakshmi Puja on this day in the evening. Diyas are illuminated to drive away bad spirits from the house. On this day wealth is celebrated. The literal meaning of Dhan is wealth and Tera denotes the date which is 13. This festival is widely celebrated in Northern part of India and in Nepal. It is the first day that marks the opening of the celebration of the festival of Diwali.

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