‘Dhanteras’ is a very famous festival for Hindus. The word ‘Dhanteras’ has two parts ‘Dhan’ and ‘Teras’. In Hindi, ‘Dhan’ means wealth and ‘Tera’ means thirteen.
According to Hindu Calender, Danteras falls on the 13th day of Krishna Paksha or the Dark fortnight in the month of Karthik That is why it is called ‘Dhanteras’.
On the day of Dhanteras, Hindus worship goddess Lakshmi, who is the goddess of wealth. Many Hindus also worship the treasurer of wealth, Kuber along with Goddess Laxmi, because it is thought that this will double the benefit of prayers.
Dhanteras marks the beginning of the immensely popular Hindu festival of Diwali. There are various stories regarding the naming of this festival.
Story Number 1
On the day of Dhantrayodashi, Goddess Lakshmi came out from the ocean of milk during the churning of the Sea.
Hence, Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped on the day of Trayodashi.
Story Number 2
According to another legend, when the Gods and demons churned the ocean for Amrita or nectar, Dhanvantari (the physician of the Gods) emerged carrying a jar of the Amrita or elixir on the day of Dhanteras.
As on this day, Dhanvantari emerged so this day is called ‘Dhanteras’. But, there is no association of wealth with Dhanvantari, who is a provider of good health rather than wealth.
There is a famous Hindi quote “Pehla Sukh Nirogi Kaya, Duja Sukh Ghar me Maya.” which means first health than wealth and we know another famous quote “Health is wealth”.
That is why ‘Dhanteras’ is celebrated not only for wealth but for good health also.
Story Number 3
There is another famous ancient story about this day. The story of King Hima’s son. His horoscope predicted his death by snake-bite on the fourth day of his marriage.
So, King Hima send his son to a deserted cave to spend his life so that his son never get a chance to meet any girl to marry.
But who can alter God’s wish?
The Prince marry a girl in the Jungle. On the fourth day of marriage, his newly-wed wife did not allow him to sleep.
She laid out all her ornaments and lots of gold and silver coins in a heap at the entrance of the sleeping chamber and lit lamps all over the place.
Then she narrated stories and sang songs to keep her husband from falling asleep. In the night, when Yama, the god of Death arrived at the prince’s doorstep in the form of a Serpent, his eyes were dazzled and blinded by the brilliance of the lamps and the jewelry.
Yama could not enter the Prince’s chamber, so he climbed on top of the heap of gold coins and sat there the entire night listening to the stories and songs.
In the morning, he silently went away. Thus, the young prince was saved from the clutches of death by the cleverness of his bride, and the day came to be celebrated as Dhanteras.
Story Number 4
One day, Goddess Lakshmi insisted Lord Vishnu to visit the earth. Lord Vishnu agreed but on the conditions that She would not fall for earthly temptations and would not look towards the south direction.
Goddess Lakshmi agreed to this. But, during her visit to the earth, She was not able to resist her urge to look towards the south direction, She broke her promise and started moving towards the south.
While moving towards the southern direction, She was mesmerized by the beauty of yellow mustard flowers and sugarcane fields.
Finally, Goddess Lakshmi fell for the earthly temptations and decorated herself with the mustard flowers and started enjoying sugarcane juice.
When Lord Vishnu saw that Goddess Lakshmi has broken her promise, He got annoyed and asked Her to spend the next twelve years on the earth as a servant of the poor farmer who has cultivated mustard and sugarcane in the field.
This will be her penance. With the help of Goddess Lakshmi, the poor farmer became prosperous and wealthy.
After twelve years Lord Vishnu came to the earth as an ordinary man to take Goddess Lakshmi back, but the farmer refused to free Goddess Lakshmi from his services.
When all attempts by Lord Vishnu had failed and the farmer didn’t agree to free Goddess from his services, Goddess Lakshmi revealed her true identity to the farmer and told him that She could not stay any longer there and need to go back to Vaikuntha.
But before she left, she promised the farmer that she would visit him every year during the eve of Krishna Trayodashi before Diwali.
As a result, the farmer started cleaning his house every year to welcome the Goddess on the Krishna Trayodashi day before Diwali.
He also started lighting clay lamps full of Ghee throughout the night to welcome Goddess Lakshmi.
These rituals made the farmer rich and prosperous year after year. People who came to know about t his incident also started worshipping Goddess Lakshmi on the night of Krishna Trayodashi before Diwali.
This is how devotees started worshipping Goddess Lakshmi along with Lord Kubera on the day of Dhanteras which is also known as Dhantrayodashi.
Dhanteras is important for Hindu households because, on this auspicious day, Hindus are supposed to buy new utensils, gold and/or
This is done because it is said that goddess Lakshmi then showers households with more of this kind of wealth.
In Maharashtra, this day is celebrated as the custom of ‘Naivedya’. A mixture of powdered coriander seeds and jaggery is mixed to prepare a traditional sweet which is offered to the Goddess.
In Southern India, on the day of Dhanteras, cows are adorned with ornaments and worshipped and are considered to be the reincarnation Goddess Lakshmi.