Diwali, which is among the most prominent Indian festivals, is just around the corner. Popularly known as the festival of lights, Diwali is celebrated in India and around the world by the Hindu community with much fervour and zeal. The beginning of Diwali celebrations is marked by the festival of Dhanteras, and people worship Goddess Laxmi and Lord Kuber on this day. Dhanteras has many names, such as Dhantrayodashi or Dhanvantri Jayanti. The festival of Dhanteras is observed on the 13th Lunar day of Krishna Paksha, as per the Hindu calendar, during the month of Kartik. In the year 2022, Dhanteras is going to fall on October 23. Dhanteras is also considered to be the birth anniversary of the God of Ayurveda, and as such, the Ministry of AYUSH celebrates Dhanteras as ‘National Ayurveda Day’.
People pray to Goddess Laxmi on the auspicious occasion of Dhanteras and Goddess Laxmi is considered to be the Goddess of Wealth in Hindu mythology. As per Hindu mythology, it is believed that Goddess Laxmi emerged from the sea on the day of Dhanteras. People also believe that Goddess Laxmi visits the home of devotees on the day of Dhanteras and blesses them to bring more money and wealth into their lives. Due to this reason, Dhanteras is an especially important festival for people involved in business and finances. The word Dhanteras itself comes from the word ‘Dhan’, which translates to wealth in the Hindi language.
Another Hindu mythological story that’s connected to Dhanteras is the story of King Hima and his newlywed wife. A prophecy had foretold that King Hima would die on the fourth day of their marriage. The story goes that in order to keep her husband safe from danger and death, the newlywed wife made a large collection of gold, silver and jewellery and kept them outside of the king’s chambers as an offering to the gods to keep her husband safe. On the next day, when King Yama, the God of Death appeared before the king’s chambers, he was bedazzled by all the precious metal and sat on top of the heap, listening to the king’s wife sing songs and stories about the king. Impressed by the display and the performance, King Yama decided to leave to extend the king’s life and left silently. This is another reason why people buy gold, silver and jewellery on the holy occasion of Dhanteras.
The Hindu community across the world celebrates Dhanteras in a wide variety of ways. Many people like to buy gold or silver on the occasion of Dhanteras, in hopes that Goddess Laxmi would bless them and bring good fortune and wealth to themselves and their families. People also shop for other important things on Dhanteras such as smartphones, home appliances, kitchen utensils, etc. Dhanteras is also considered to be an auspicious day to set dates for weddings, buy a new vehicle or a new house, or start a new business venture. Over the years, people have also started investing in mutual funds, FDs and stocks on the occasion of Dhanteras. Many people also throw housewarming parties on Dhanteras and invite their friends and family to celebrate. While many different cultures in India celebrate the festival of Dhanteras in their own ways, the custom of buying gold and silver, making new investments, and starting new business ventures is a common theme.