October , 2017
Dhanteras – when prosperity knocks at the door
15:49 pm

Samarpita Ray

It is surprising to note how number 13 is synonymous with bad luck in India as it is observed as a very prosperous day in the Hindu calendar. The thirteenth lunar day of Karthik Krishna Paksha, of the Hindu month of Kartik (October-November) is considered highly auspicious and celebrated as Dhantrayodoshi or Dhanteras. It is believed that Lakshmi – the Goddess of wealth, prosperity and good luck arrives on earth on this day to bless everyone with wealth and prosperity.  So, start planning what you would like to buy on October 17, which will be celebrated as Dhanteras this year. It is considered to be one of the most auspicious days forinitiating any new work and purchasing new items for homeand family members.Dhanteras is also marked with people inaugurating their new business ventures or projects. Hindus across the globe celebrate Dhanteras by buying new cars, gold, silver, jewellery, new clothes and many more things. Especially, for the business community, this day is extremely important for investing, buying, and initiating new projects.The following day is called Naraka Chaturdashi ('Naraka' means hell and Chaturdashi means 14th). It is also known as ‘Yamadeepdaan’ as the ladies of the house light earthen lamps and these are kept burning through the night glorifying Yama, the God of death. Since this is the night before Diwali, it is also called 'Chhhoti Diwali'.Mythological stories behind DhanterasOn this particular day, Goddess Lakshmi came out from the ocean of milk during the churning of the sea (samudra manthan). Hence, Goddess Lakshmi, along with Lord Kuber, the treasurer of the earth is worshiped on the day of Trayodashi. Another story of Dhanteras goes back to an ancient legend where the son of King Hima was predicted to die due to snakebite. His horoscope predicted his death by snakebite on the fourthday of his marriage. On that particular day, his newly-wedded wife did not allow the prince to sleep. She laid out her gold ornaments and precious jewelley at the entrance of their sleeping chamber and lit lamps all over the place. She placed all the available treasuries of gold and silver coins along with her jewellery and then narrated stories and sang songs to keep her husband from falling asleep. When Yama, the God of death arrived at the prince’s doorstep in the guise of a serpent, his eyes weredazzled and blinded by the brilliance of the lamps and from the shine of the valuable jewellery. Yama could not enter the Prince's chamber, so he climbed on top of the treasures and sat there the entire night listening to stories and songs. Thus the nightwas spent and it dawned and the serpent had no other option but to leave, as according to the horoscope, the serpent was to bite the prince on that very night only. Since then, the day has been celebrated as the young prince was saved due to the love andintelligence of his wife.Celebration of the Day Different regions in India celebrate the festival differently. In rural India, farmers worship their cattle because they are their main source of income. In the southern part of India, people show reverence to cows, because they are known as the incarnation of goddess Lakshmi. In Maharashtra, women make a diya or oil lamp with kneaded flour for every male member in their families. The diyas are offered to Yamraj, the God of death, to bless all malemembers with a long and prosperous life. A male member's well-being is associated with stability, prosperity, protection, power and repute for the family. The Maharashtrians offer traditional sweets called ‘Naivedya’ made by lightly pounding dry coriander seeds with jaggery. Colourful and intricate rangoli designs are drawn at the entrance of houses and offices to welcome Lakshmi. Using vermillion powder and rice flour, small footprints are made to signify theglorious arrival of Lakshmi. Many devotees perform Lakshmi puja on this day in the evening. They sing devotional songs and praises to Goddess Lakshmi and light tiny diyas in the house to ward off evil. Seven cereals including wheat, urad dal, moong dal, gram, and barley and masoor dal are used while performing the puja.

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