Diwali, the most awaited festival of all, is here. It is the time of the day when you decorate your house by lighting oil lamps and making rangoli. The festive celebration includes gorging on some delicious sweets and snack and meeting up with friends and families. This year Diwali falls on October 19. This festival of lights symbolizes the victory of good over evil and light over darkness. The celebration starts with Dhanteras. Also known as Dhanvantari Trayodashi or Dhanatrayodashi, Dhanteras is celebrated on the first day of Diwali and it falls on October 17 this year. It is the day when you worship Dhanvantari, who is considered to be the god of Ayurveda and a teacher. Dhanteras celebration is associated with buying gold, silver and utensils. It is part of the tradition followed by Hindus. People buy jewelry, utelsils and gold or silver coins on this day. (ALSO READ Happy Dhanteras 2017: Puja Muhurat, Tithi & Auspicious Timings to Celebrate Dhantrayodashi and to Purchase New Things).

It is believed that during the churning of the ocean of milk, goddess Lakshmi emerged on the day of Dhantrayodashi. So, as per folk stories, goddess Lakshmi visits the house of her devotees on this day and blesses them with prosperity. It is also said that while churning of the ocean of milk, Dhanvantari came out with a jar of amrita or the elixir on Dhanteras.

There is another story about Dhanteras. According to legends, King Hima had a son and his horoscope revealed that he will be killed by snakebite on the fourth day of his wedding. His wife was a clever woman. She placed her ornaments at the entrance of their room and kept the room lit with oil lamps. She also sang songs and told stories to her husband to keep him awake. When the god of death, Yama came to get the price’s soul as a serpent, he could not enter the chamber as he was dazzled by the brilliant shine of the jewelry and the lit lamps. The serpent sat on top of the jewelry and enjoyed the songs and stories told by prince’s wife. The next morning, Yama left the chamber without the prince. This day is celebrated as Dhanteras. The next day is called Yamadeepdaan or Naraka Chaturdashi. On this day the lamp is kept lit throughout the night. It is also called Chhoti Diwali.

Dhanteras is celebrated by worshipping Dhanvantari, goddess Lakshmi and Kubera. People also make colorful rangoli at their doorstep with small footprints inside the house. These footprints indicate that goddess Lakshmi has arrived.