Celebrating Dhanteras Festival

Illustration of Hindu goddess Laxmi. EPS 10.

DhanTeras falls on the thirteenth day of the dark fortnight in the month of Kartik (October-November), i.e. two days before Diwali. The word “Dhan” means wealth. God Yama is worshipped on this day to provide prosperity and well being.

Legend: According to legend, when the gods and demons 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.

Another Legend : A very interesting story about this day is of the sixteen year old son of King Hima. As per his horoscope he was doomed to die by a snake-bite on the fourth day of his marriage.

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 of her husband’s boudoir and lighted innumerable lamps all over the place. And she went on telling stories and singing songs.

When Yam, the god of Death arrived there in the guise of a Serpent his eyes got blinded by that dazzle of those brilliant lights and he could not enter the Prince’s chamber. So he climbed on top of the heap of the ornaments and coins and sat there whole night listening to the melodious songs. In the morning he quietly went away.

Thus the young wife saved her husband from the clutches of death. Since then this day of Dhanteras came to be known as the day of “YAMADEEPDAAN” and lamps are kept burning throughout the night in reverential adoration to Yam, the God of Death.

Celebrating Dhanteras

It has become a tradition for people to buy gold and silver on this day. Jewelry shops are super crowded on this day with purchases of not only jewelry  but also gold and silver coins. Many also believe that it is auspicious to buy utensils made of metal even if it is just a spoon.

In Jakarta, Indians flock to popular gold markets in Cikini, Block M and Pasar Baru on Dhanteras.

As the day relates to wealth and prosperity, people decorate the entrance to their homes with beautiful rangolis. People even renovate their homes and offices to invite the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Some even draw small footprints with rice flour and vermilion powder to symbolize goddess Laxmi entering their abodes.