Dhanteras: tradition, what to buy, significance


Dhanteras is a very significant festival of Hindus, which is celebrated in the month of Kartika of the Hindu calendar, which falls in October-November according to the Gregorian month. It is observed in the Krishna Paksha of the thirteenth lunar day. The festival of Dhanteras is celebrated two days before Diwali. In fact, it marks the first day of Diwali celebrations.



1. Why is Dhanteras known as the ‘Festival of Prosperity?’

According to Hindu religion, there is a short mythological story related to the festival of Dhanteras. The story deals with the 16 year old son of King Hema. The prince’s horoscope predicted that he would die from a snake bite on the fourth day of his marriage. This worried the king; Yet He let the prince married ; the prince’s newly wed wife knew about the prophecy and so she planned to save the prince.

On the fourth night of their wedding, the prince’s wife took away all her gold, silver ornaments, etc. and piled it up at the entrance.  Then, she started singing hymns and telling stories to keep the prince awake. On that fateful night when Yama, the god of death, arrived, was unable to disguise himself as a snake, his eyes were filled with piles of ornaments. He was amazed by the brightness. He climbed the heap and sat on top of it listening to the songs and stories of the prince’s wife. As the morning progressed, he went back without taking the prince’s life. Therefore, the prince’s life was saved by the wisdom and cleverness of his wife. Since then, this day is celebrated as Dhanteras and clearly has significance for prosperity.

2. What is the tradition behind celebrating Dhanteras?

This Hindu festival of wealth and prosperity begins with the worship of Goddess Lakshmi. Also, Lord Dhanvantari, the god of Ayurveda and good health, is also worshiped to bestow health and long life. Worship and rituals are mostly performed in the evening in the presence of every member of the household and at the traditional place of worship.

Dhanteras is specially called the festival of prosperity. Buying expensive items on this day is considered auspicious. It is believed that the expenditure done on the day of Dhanteras gives you the benefit of money in many ways throughout the year. Because of this, people postpone their important purchases till Dhanteras. Shopping for vehicles has also become a common practice on the day of Dhanteras.

Steel utensils and utensils are in great demand during the festival. The shops remain open longer than their normal hours to meet the demand of the customers. Those who cannot spend much on expensive items, try to buy small silver coins, as this is also considered auspicious.

People also clean their houses, give them a new color and decorate them in many ways to give a rich look to the house. The house is decorated from inside and outside with decorative lights, lamps, paintings, sofa covers and many more. The whole point about Dhanteras is that it blesses everyone with prosperity and good health like never before.

3. How Indians celebrate the festival of prosperity?

The festival of Dhanteras is celebrated with great pomp across the country. People gather in the market on this day to buy utensils, washing machines, fridges, jewelry, gold and silver coins, etc. Even the sale of vehicles remains in the sky during Dhanteras. Making new purchases and investing in business and enterprise is considered a good omen on Dhanteras. Markets remain open till late night on Dhanteras.

In most places, people celebrate by lighting lamps in the evening, they decorate the house-door, courtyard, shop etc. From this day all the places like temples, cowsheds, river ghats, wells, ponds and gardens etc. are illuminated. It is a very important festival for the business community of Western India.

In Maharashtra, people prepare ‘Naivedya’ by grinding dried coriander seeds and mixing it with jaggery. In rural areas, farmers worship their cattle by decorating them well. In South India, people consider cows as an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi, so the people there have special respect and reverence for the cow. On this occasion, people in villages buy coriander seeds and keep them at home. People sow these seeds in their gardens or fields after Diwali. On this day people soak the plowed soil in milk and put a branch of Semar in it and apply kumkum by rotating it on their body three times in a row.

Religiously, this festival is meant to attract the worship of Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth to Dhanvantari, the god of good health.

4. What is the significance behind the festival of Dhanteras?

Dhanteras is the most important festival of Hindus. It is not only a festival to celebrate prosperity and good health, but also a great opportunity to make new ventures and financial investments. The importance of this day can be gauged by looking at the craze among Indians to buy various new things as an auspicious token.

Basically, from Dhanteras, everything is renewed again, due to which there is a great enthusiasm among people to start prosperous life.

Writing credits – Jiya