Dhanteras is a Hindu festival that marks the first day of the Diwali festival. This festival is believed to bring prosperity and health to the lives of people and hence it is celebrated with great enthusiasm. According to the Hindu calendar, it is celebrated in the month of Kartik. It is celebrated on the thirteenth lunar day of the dark fortnight, also known as Kartik Amavasya. On the next day of Dhanteras, Choti Diwali is celebrated and then on the third day, Diwali is celebrated.
People start their day by cleaning the house and get rid of any unnecessary articles. People decorate their houses with colored lights and other decorative items. Many people also give their house a new paint. On Dhanteras light lamps ( sky lantern) are released in the sky and are placed at the house’s entrance as a good omen and to wade off evil and misfortune. The importance of Dhanteras mainly lies in its auspiciousness for making new purchases. It is believed that any shopping on Dhanteras is considered a symbol of prosperity and wealth. It is celebrated with pomp across India. Buying gold, silver jewellery or steel utensils on Dhanteras is considered auspicious. It is believed that the expenditure made on Dhanteras has multiple returns throughout the year. It is also an auspicious time to start new business ventures and make new investments. Actually, people wait for Dhanteras to take delivery of their bike or car.
The festival has religious significance as the rituals performed are related to Hindu goddesses and mythology. Lord Kubera, the ‘treasurer of the gods’ and ‘king of Yaksha’ represents wealth, prosperity and glory. It is said that those who worship Lord Kubera on Dhanteras and Diwali are blessed with wealth and prosperity. It also gives importance to the worship of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. The rituals are performed mostly in the evening at the house. Some people also traditionally worship Dhanvantari, the Hindu god of medicine and health. It is believed that he welcomes the family in good health and wellbeing.
In the state of Maharashtra, Dhanteras is celebrated as Vasubaras. Cow and calf are worshiped in the festival. The cow is highly revered in Hindu mythology and is considered equivalent to the mother. The entrance of the house is decorated with Rangoli to welcome Goddess Lakshmi. Oil lamps are also light at the entrance to welcome Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Dhanvantari. On the whole, Dhanteras is the beginning of Diwali and an auspicious day when people invoke the blessings of the divine deities for wealth and prosperity.
Karva Chauth is one of the most popular Indian festivals and is mostly observed in the northern side of the country. It is a celebration of love, marriage and the unbreakable bond shared between a husband and wife. If we talk about the literal meaning of Karwa Chauth, it means offering ‘Argya’ to the moon using an earthen pot known as Karwa on the Chaturthi of the Kartika month. The festival falls on the fourth day of the dark fortnight in the Kartika month every year. It is also known as ‘Nirjala Vrat’. Karva Chauth is a one-day festival where married Hindu women observe fasts for the health and safety of their husbands.
It begins with a small early morning prayer and is usually followed by “Sargi” – a food platter containing dry fruits, parathas, curry and coconut water. Women consume Sargi after their bath as it is believed to be a healthy meal that allows them to prepare for the day’s fasting. It keeps them energetic and allows them to stay without food or water for the entire day. In evening they break their fast after making various offerings and sighting the moon, which is also one of the most important celestial bodies according to Hindu mythology. Women perform puja for their husbands before the moon sighting. After this, they see the moon through a sieve and then catch a glimpse of their husbands through the same sieve. It is also believed that when a wife looks at her husband through a sieve, all negative emotions are filtered through it. Women pray for the long life of their husbands and ask Lord Shiva to protect them from every harm or difficulties. It is also believed that this festival brings peace, happiness and joy into their married life.
There are various tales and stories which shows the reason behind this celebration. According to one of such stories there was a beautiful queen named Veervati who was the only sister among seven loving and caring brothers. On her first ‘Karwa Chauth’ she was at her parent’s house and doing Karwa Chauth fast. She was waiting eagerly in the evening for the moonrise as she was suffering from hunger and thirst. Seeing her suffering like this pained her brothers. They created a mirror with the Peepal tree in their backyard and tricked Veervati into believing that the moon had seen. She believed them and broke her fast. Unfortunately, news arrived that her beloved husband was dead. She was completely devastated and started running towards her husband’s house. She met Goddess Parvati on her way. Maa Parvati revealed that she was tricked by her brothers. Then she kept Karwa Chauth vrat with full devotion and by seeing her dedication ‘Yama’ the ‘Lord of Death’ restored life to her husband. This katha is quite popular and usually heard by women while observing the fast.
In recent times, husbands have also started observing fasts for their wives. The gesture has made the festival extra special as it signifies love, understanding and compassion from both sides.
The culmination of the joyful holiday of Ganesha Chaturthi, which is celebrated with tremendous fervour, is the immersion of Ganesha idols in bodies of water.
In the pursuit of a healthy and balanced life, we often turn to various remedies and practices. However, one aspect that is often overlooked is the impact of our