Monday, October 20, 2008
Dhanteras festival also known as 'Dhantrayodashi' or 'Dhanvantari Trayodasi' also known as the festival of gold comes just a few days before Diwali (usually two days before Diwali). On this day it is believed that to buy articles of gold and silver brings Goddess Laxmi into your home and brings good luck for the entire year. Some even purchase a new utensil as a sign of good luck . This year Dhanteras is on Sunday 26th October 2008.
This festival received its name from the words 'Dhan' (means wealth ) and 'Teras' that means thirteenth. Dhanteras or Dhantrayodashi is on the thirteenth lunar day of Krishna Paksha in the Hindu month of Ashwin (October/November) every year.
This day marks the beginning of Diwali celebrations which end with Bhai Dooj. On this day, the entrance to homes ( some also do this in offices ) are decorated with torans or rangoli to welcome Goddess Laxmi into the home and so invite propsertity throughout the year. As a symbol of the arrival of Goddess Laxmi small red footprints are drawn with rice flour and vermilion powder or with rangoli colour at the entrances of the home and the puja mandir. Some also amke these designs all over the house. This is the first day that diyas of clay are lighted with cotton and ghee ( or sarson ka tel), through the night to light the way for Godess Lakshmi to visit our homes and mandirs. This tradition is observe3d throughout Diwali.
This is a very auspicious day to buy gold, silver jewelery, coins, or any other new article, cars homes and oethr assets.
Myth/Legend behind Dhanteras
Legend of King Himavan and Yamaraj ( the God of Death)
The son of King Himavan was doomed to die on the fourth day of his marriage by snakebite. On that particular fourth day of his marriage his young wife did not allow him to sleep. She laid all the ornaments and lots of gold and silver coins in a big heap at the entrance and lighted lots of lamps all over the place and she went on telling stories and singing songs. When Yamaraj, the God of death arrived there in the guise of a serpent, the dazzle of those brilliant lights made his eyes blind and he could not enter the prince's chamber. Since then this day of Dhanteras came to be known as the day of "Yamadeepdaan" and people buy some item of jewellery and keep a lamp lit nearby all night.
The legend of Sagar Manthan
The legend of Sagar Manthan or Samudramanthan ( the chruning of the oceans) is also the story of Dhanteras. When the gods (devas) and demons (asuras or rakshasas) churned the ocean for Amrut or nectar, Dhanavantri, the physician of the gods and an incarnation of Vishnu emerged carrying a jar of the elixir (Amrit).
The photo of the gold jewelery is courtesy Eunice from one of Eunices trips to Singapore ( at Serangoon Street or Little India) and can be seen at http://travelerfolio.com/little-india-singapore-attraction/