Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dhanteras: Diwali Celebrations

'Dhanteras' celebrated by the people with the great joy and happiness. It is the first day of the five-day Diwali celebration which observed across India. Dhanteras festival is also known as ‘Dhanatrayodashi’ or ‘Dhanvantari Trayodashi’. The word 'Dhan' means wealth and Teras means 13th day of the month. Dhanteras observed every year on the thirteenth lunar day of Krishna paksha (dark fortnight) according to the Hindu calendar month of ‘Ashwin’.


People wait for the Diwali celebration all year long and Dhanteras also considered as the lucky day. People renovate and decorate their homes or business premises with new paints, lights, Diyas, candle, flowers and rangoli. Entrance gate decorate with the colorful and traditional designs of rangoli in order to welcome the Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity. People also stick small footprints of the Lakshmi coming into their home and mix rice flour and vermilion powder and draw all over the houses.


On Dhanteras Hindus consider it auspicious to purchase at least one or two new utensils as it believed that new “Dhan” or some form of metal is a sign of good luck. During "Lakshmi Puja" tiny diyas of clay are lit to drive away the shadows of evil spirits. Bhajans, aartis or devotional hymns are sung and "Naivedya" of traditional sweets and fruits are offered to Godass. People purchased jewelries and buy gold or silver or utensils to venerate the occasion of Dhanteras. 



LEGENDS OF DHANTERAS:

The legends ascribes the occasion with an interesting story about the 16 year old son of King Hima. His horoscope predicted his death by snake-bite on the fourth day of his marriage. On that particular day, his newly-wed wife did not allow him to sleep. She laid out all her ornaments and lots of gold and silver coins in a heap at the entrance of the sleeping chamber and lit lamps all over the place. Then she 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 were dazzled and blinded by the brilliance of the lamps and the jewelry. Yama could not enter the Prince's chamber, so he climbed on top of the heap of gold coins and sat there the entire night listening to the stories and songs. In the morning, he silently went away. Thus, the young prince was saved from the clutches of death by the cleverness of his new bride, and the day since then celebrated as Dhanteras.


Another legend is about Lord Dhanwantri, known as the physician of the Gods and an incarnation of Vishnu, was born on the day of Dhanteras or Dhan Trayodashi. That’s why any new discovery of medical science field in India starts at this day. According to another popular legend, when the Gods and demons churned the ocean for Amrita or nectar, Dhanvantari emerged carrying a jar of the elixir on the day of Dhanteras.


Some people keep fast for full day. They break their fast after sunset with the puja of Goddess Lakshmi, and then they eat delicious sweetmeats, kheer, puri etc. Many people inaugurate their new business premises, launch new projects, buy car, jewelries, saree, and many more things on this auspicious day.


In villages, cattle are adorned and worshiped by farmers as they form the main source of their income. In south India, cows are offered, particularly, a special veneration because they are thought of as incarnations of Goddess Lakshmi. In Maharashtra people lightly pound dry coriander seeds (Dhane in Marathi) with jaggery and offer as Naivedya.

Hindus also worship Lord Kuber as the treasurer of wealth and bestower of riches, along with Goddess Lakshmi. This custom of worshiping Lakshmi and Kuber together is in prospect of doubling the benefits of such prayers.


The following day came to be 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 or ‘deep’ and these are kept burning throughout the night glorifying Yama, the God of Death. Since this is the night before Diwali, it is also called 'Chhoti Diwali'.... (and then the DIWALI...)

Hope you all liked it, it soft of a traditional post!

Thanks for reading :) 

Mugdha

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