Diwali is the festival of lights celebrated on a magnificent scale in India. This year, the festival falls on November 7. The six days of Diwali are, Vasu Baras, Dhanteras, Choti Diwali/Naraka Chatudashi, Lakshmi Puja, Bali Pratipada and Bhau Beej. Dhanteras is also known as Dhanatrayodashi, Dhanvantari or Trayodashi.
Legend has it that King Hima’s son was predicted to be killed four days post his wedding by a serpent’s bite. However, his wife made it a point to keep her husband awake through the night by narrating stories to him. She then kept all her precious jewelry at the door. When Yama took form of a snake and reached the door, he was lured by the glittering gold and sat by the door, listening to stories all night. The following morning, he left silently without taking the prince along.
Since then, the day is celebrated to thank Lakshmi for all their wealth. Dhana stands for wealth and trayodashi stands for the 13th day of the month of Kartik in the Hindu calendar.
Dhanteras is the first big day of Diwali. Freshly-painted or cleaned homes are ready to begin the festive season. Rangolis are drawn outside houses, oil lamps are lit and purchases are made. Lakshmi, Ganesha and Kubera are worshiped on Dhanteras. Lakshmi and Kubera are thanked for wealth, and Ganesha is prayed to, for clearing obstacles.
This is the day when businessmen open up their new account books. People invest in gold and silver ornaments and new clothes. Some people gamble to try their luck on this auspicious day.