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.