Dhanteras, which is also known as Dhanatrayodashi and Dhanavantri Trayodashi, is a Hindu festival that marks the beginning of 5-day Diwali celebrations in India. Dhanteras has derived from two words wherein Dhan means wealth and teras means 13. 
According to Vikram Samvat Hindu Calendar, the festival falls on the 13th lunar day of Krishna Paksha of Karthik month. On this day, people buy jewellery, utensils, kitchen/home appliances, and vehicles as they consider the festival auspicious for purchasing metals. Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped on this day for wealth, happiness, and prosperity.     

History of Dhanteras Puja

There are many interpretations of this festival. Many dedicate it to medicine God Dhanvantri, many spend time worshipping Goddess Lakshmi, while many spend it worshipping Lord Yama. There is three major folklore, related to Dhanteras. While two are a part of Samudra Manthan, the churning of the ocean, the remaining one is related to Lord Yama.  
As per Hindu mythology, Dhanvantri is the God of Medicine and Ayurveda. He is known to be the one who used Ayurveda for the betterment of mankind and to free them from diseases. On the auspicious day of Dhanteras, the God of Ayurveda, Dhanvantri, is worshipped for his wisdom and for curing acute and chronic illnesses with Ayurveda.
God Dhanvantri is also considered a Doctor to Hindu gods, as per the ancient Hindu texts. Ancient mythological books also claim that God Dhanvantri took birth through Samudra Manthan with a pot of Amrit in one hand and a book on Ayurveda in the other. 
Another significant story is related to Goddess Lakshmi. As per the mythological texts, Goddess Lakshmi came from the great churning of the ocean and is a mark of wealth, happiness, prosperity, and good fortune. People make rangolis at the main door and illuminate the main entrance of their home with Diyas to create positive vibes to attract and welcome Goddess Lakshmi.    
The third legend is about a prince who was the son of King Hima, who was expected to die from a snakebite on the 4th day of his marriage as per the prophecy. But the wife of the princess made a pile of gold, silver, and all the metals at the entrance of her house, lit many Diyas, and spent the entire night telling her husband stories and singing songs.
When Lord Yama, the God of death, came in the guise of a serpent, he could not see anything because of the brightness of Metals and Diyas. Lord Yama then stayed there and left silently the next morning, which is why Dhanteras is also called Yamadeepdaan, which means offering earthen lamps to Lord Yama.  

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Puja and Rituals of Dhanteras 

In the evening after the sunset, Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped. People recite Dhanteras ki Katha and Diyas are lit as well as placed outside every door of the house, barring toilets. People believe that the light of Diyas shows the way to Goddess Lakshmi to their home. Tulsi plant is also worshipped in the evening. Apart from that, a paste of vermilion and rice flour is made to make the footprints of Goddess Lakshmi which again is an auspicious symbol and brings wealth and prosperity to the home. 

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Dhanteras Special Prashad and Dishes  

Naivedya a popular dish offered to Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu. The dish finds its mention in a lot of sacred texts and is prepared using jaggery and dry coriander seeds. Apart from Naivedya, whole wheat halwa (Aate ka halwa) is also made for Goddess Lakshmi in many parts of North India.
Panchamrit is another Prashad that is prepared for Dhanteras Puja. This chilled beverage is made with five elements: milk, sugar, honey, curd, and ghee.   

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Interesting Facts About Dhanteras

  • Shopping  For New Metals and Vehicles - Many people associate the festival with Goddess Lakshmi and indulge in shopping for new vehicles and metals on this day. But the health ministries like Naturopathy, Homeopathy, Siddha, Unani, Yoga, and Ayurveda celebrate the day as National Ayurveda Day in honour of Dhanvantri, the God of Ayurveda and medicine.    
  • Buying Silver or Gold Coins - There is a custom of purchasing silver coins with the image of Goddess Lakshmi on it. People believe that buying and worshipping this silver coin multiplies wealth and happiness in the home. Many people also gift these silver Lakshmi coins to their friends and family and wish them luck and happiness on Diwali. 
  • Buying Broomsticks - People also buy broomsticks and worship them on the day of Dhanteras. As per Hindu beliefs, just like gods, a broomstick also helps us get rid of negativity, clutter, and bad fortune hence it’s eligible to be worshipped like gods. 

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Frequently Asked Questions About Dhanteras

Ques 1. Why is the Dhanteras festival celebrated?
Ans 1
. As per Hindu mythology, Dhanvantri is the God of Medicine and Ayurveda. He is known to be the one who used Ayurveda for the betterment of mankind and to free them from diseases. On the auspicious day of Dhanteras, the God of Ayurveda, Dhanvantri, is worshipped for his wisdom and curing acute and chronic illnesses with Ayurveda.

Ques 2. What is so special about Dhanteras?
Ans 2
. Dhanteras is celebrated to pray to Goddess Laxmi for wealth and prosperity. The festival aims at cleaning, renewal and establishing auspiciousness in homes and places of work. Farmers also worship their beautifully-adorned cattle as they are their main income source.

Ques 3. What needs to be taken care of when celebrating Dhanteras?
Ans 3
. Here are some do’s and don’ts that you need to take care of when celebrating Dhanteras.

  • Perform Laxmi Pooja with utmost devotion and sincerity.
  • The prayer time for this pooja, pradosh kaal, must be religiously followed.
  • Buy gold or silver on this day as it is considered auspicious.
  • Buy medicines and donate to the poor people this day is also dedicated to Lord Dhanvantari.
  • Avoid consuming alcohol and non-vegetarian food on this day.
  • Control your thoughts and speak politely.
  • Do not borrow money from anyone on this day.
  • Do not make any bill payments on this day.

Ques 4. When is Dhanteras celebrated?
Ans 4
. According to Vikram Samvat Hindu Calendar, Dhanteras falls on the 13th lunar day of Krishna Paksha of Karthik month.
 

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