It's a matter of gold!

It's a matter of gold!

If there is one festival that is universally loved, it has to be Deepavali. The festival of lights is symbolic in more ways than one. Most importantly, it signifies the importance of light, well-being and happiness.

The five-day festivities see many celebrations and traditions, and one of the most important days is Dhanteras, also called Dhantrayodashi or Dhanvantri Jayanti. ‘Dhana’ means wealth and ‘Teras’ mean the 13th day. This festival falls in the month of Kartik on the 13th lunar day of Krishna Paksha and is usually celebrated two days before Deepavali.

The legend behind celebrating Dhanteras is traced to King Hima’s 16-year-old son, who was forecasted to die through a snakebite on the fourth day of his marriage. His wife devised a plan to save her husband’s life. On that particular day, she collected all her ornaments and placed them in a heap at the door and lit lamps all around. To keep her husband awake, she started to recite stories. When the God of Death, Yama, arrived in the form of a serpent, his eyes were blinded by the dazzle of the lamps and jewellery, and he could not enter the room. Instead, he became immersed in the stories the wife was narrating. Soon after, it was morning and Yama had to return empty-handed.

Likewise, when the ocean was churned by gods and demons to gain nectar,

Dhanvantari, an avatar of Lord Vishnu, emerged out carrying the nectar on this day.

Dhanteras is associated with wealth and prosperity. On this day, it is considered auspicious to buy precious metals. Naturally, jewellery stores are in an overdrive mode to entice customers with irresistible offers. This day is an important one for the business community, and all the new purchases are dedicated to both Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Kubera, who are associated with wealth. Markets are abuzz with many shoppers, who mainly throng jewellery stores in the hope of coveting a piece of wealth that will multiply throughout the year.

Naturally, Dhanteras is a day when prayers are most important. Usually, a puja is performed in the evening where lit lamps are placed at the entrance to welcome Goddess Lakshmi. Parts of South India also have a tradition where cattle are worshipped by the farmers.

In Maharashtra, people lightly pound dry coriander seeds with jaggery and offer it to Goddess Lakshmi.

Some other parts of India witness the worship of seven types of grains during the puja.

Bhajans dedicated to the Goddess are also sung, where the idea is to dispel any kind of darkness by lighting up the entire home.

The true spirit of this festival lies in the fact that this is the day when people make an effort to declutter their lives and usher in a sense of positivity that is bound to hold them in good stead all year round.

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