Dhanteras marks the first day of the big festive week that includes Diwali, Choti Diwali, Bhai Dooj and Govardhan Puja. It falls on the thirteenth day of the Kartik month, according to the Hindu calendar. The festival is also known as "Dhanatrayodashi" or "Dhanvantari Trayodashi". This year, Dhanteras will be celebrated on November 5.
On this day, people purchase new utensils and ornaments which are believed to bring good luck. Even the purchase of automobiles and home appliances is considered to be good. Stores and online shopping portals have come out with lucrative offers for their customers.
There is an interesting story about how this day came to be celebrated. According to Hindu mythology, a young prince's horoscope predicted he would die of a snake bite on the fourth day of his marriage. On that particular day, his wife laid out all her ornaments and lots of gold and silver coins in a heap at the entrance of the sleeping chamber and lit lamps all over the place. She told stories and sang songs to her husband to keep him from falling asleep.
When Yama, the god of Death came in the disguise of a serpent, he was dazzled and blinded by the brilliance of the lamps and jewellery. He could not enter the prince's chamber so he climbed on top of the heap of gold coins and sat there, listening to the stories and songs. In the morning, he silently went away and the prince was saved.
People clean and decorate their homes. Colourful Rangolis are made and 'diyas' are lit. During Puja in the evening, people place seven grains in front of goddess Lakshmi's idol or picture and seek her blessings for prosperity and wealth. People keep diyas in front of theor houses until to get rid of evil forces and negative energy.
On Dhanteras, some people fast from morning to sunset A special preparation called Panchamrit by mixing equal quantities of honey, milk, yoghurt, ghee and sugar is prepared and offered to the gods and ancestors. The fast is broken with this prasad.
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