It’s rare to see a culture embracing the worth of money or wealth, and literally worshiping it. This festival celebrated in the Northern part of India with a huge significance, marks the beginning of a substantial and important festival, Diwali. On Dhanteras, Goddess of wealth and prosperity-Mahalaxmi is worshiped for well being, success and growth. Dhanteras is also known as Dhanatrayodashi. Dhanteras is a Hindi word which is a combination of two words, dhan which means wealth and money, and teras which is the thirteenth day of the Hindu month Kartika. This festival brings optimism and delight in people’s lives.
The devotion and belief says that the Goddess Laxmi blesses people by visiting them for five days of Diwali celebration. As Dhanteras is the first day of this five day long festival, which is specially celebrated to worship wealth, people usually welcome the Goddess by cleaning their houses, painting the walls, changing the curtains and bed sheets and finally by making beautiful rangolies in front of their houses, and lighting earthen oil lamps. It is also believed that they keep the doors of the houses open at the time of the celebration. Apart from the external preparations, everybody who celebrates, wear new cloths along with beautiful jewelry and exchange sweets and gifts.
There are certain myths and prevalent ancient stories behind the celebration of Dhanteras. It is believed that there lived a sixteen year old son of the king Hima, whose horoscope predicted death by snake bite on the fourth day of his marriage. His wife lit lamps all around his sleeping area and heaped all her gold and silver ornaments at the door of the room, and kept singing the hymns and bhajanas the whole night. This prevented the Yama, the God of Death, to enter his room and even he listened to the bhajanas sitting on the heap of gold, and silently went back in the morning. Since then, wealth is worshipped on this day.
As this festival motivates well-being and opulence, most people who celebrate it believes that, purchasing a gold commodity, ornament, or booking and purchasing of property and vehicle could be a sign of fortune in future. It is also believed that whatever amount of money is in such procurements, especially on the day of Dhanteras, will get the four or five times in the next stretch. People usually wait for this day to make big purchases. Even the prominent business men have quoted that they have made most of their money during the season of Diwali and especially on the day of Dhanteras. Hindus also buy new utensils, which are actually symbolic to their financial growth and blooming.
Along with the shopping, people usually celebrate it in the evening by worshiping Goddess Laxmi by lighting lamp in front of the Laxmi idol or photograph they then offer flowers and Prasad and sing arti. The day concludes with a great fervor and zest as it is the first day of Diwali.