Dhanteras - The festival of prosperity

India is known to be the land of festivals. Indians love celebrating everything in life. From Gods and Goddesses to seasons to relations etc. we have dedicated days in a year to honor the importance of everything we experience in our lifetime. Today also the country is celebrating a festival known as Dhanteras. The team of Mysticadii takes immense pleasure in wishing all of you a happy and prosperous Dhanteras.

Dhanteras is a festival celebrated to honor Lakshmi - the goddess of prosperity. Lord Kubera, the God of wealth is also worshipped on this day. The festival is celebrated in the month of Kartik, as per the lunisolar calendar followed by Hindus. Dhan in hindi language means wealth. Hence people on this day pray for financial well being. In the community of farmers, Dhan means crops. The farmers pray for a good harvest on this day. Teras means the 13th. Hence the festival is celebrated on the 13th lunar day of Krishna Paksha (waning phase of the Moon) in the month of Kartik. Some also worship Dhanvantari, the god of Ayurveda, and health. Some sects believe that the famous Samudra Manthan (churning of the milk ocean) had taken place on this day. It was after the continuous churning, goddess Lakshmi emerged from the sea and landed on Earth. Dhanvantari also sprang out of the ocean. He carried the nectar of immortality and the holy book of Ayurveda with him. Dhanvantari is also known as an incarnation of Vishnu. Some sects in Tamil Nadu prepare an Ayurvedic concoction known as Marundhu and consume it on this day to balance Tridoshas- an imbalance in their energy bodies. Devotees clean their houses thoroughly and light diyas to welcome Lakshmi and Dhanvantari. They also buy precious metals on this day. This ritual is practiced to invite good wealth and prosperity. A lot of sects like Gujaratis and Marwadis mark this day as their financial new year and the beginning of a new accounting year in the books of their trade. There are a few legends attached to this festival. Let us hear a few of them.

Once upon a time, there lived a king named Hima. King Hima also had a son. However, the astrologers had predicted that his son would die on the night of his 16th birthday. They even predicted that the cause of his death would be a snake bite. The astrologers suggested to the king that if the prince gets married to a fortunate girl, this tragedy can be overcome with the girl's luck. The king agreed and got the prince married to a princess who was astrologically very lucky for the prince. The wedding took place on the 16th birthday itself. The girl was very clever. She took off all her ornaments and placed it on the door. She also did not let the prince fall asleep. She kept singing melodious songs to keep him awake. Meanwhile, Lord Yama, the god of death came to the castle as a snake. However, when the snake tried to enter the room it could not as the light reflecting from all the jewels placed on the door was too bright for its eyes. The snake heard the princess singing and got mesmerised. The time when the prince was supposed to die passed by and the snake left the palace after that. This is the reason why a lot of women pray for their husband's long life on this day. They also buy jewellery as part of the ritual.

In another story, Lord Vishnu was on his way to Earth. Goddess Lakshmi had never been to Earth and wanted to accompany Vishnu. She persuaded Vishnu to take her along. Lord Vishnu agreed but only upon one condition that she should not look towards the south direction while on Earth. Lakshmi agreed. However, on Earth, she got very tempted and broke her pledge. She started walking towards the south and got completely mesmerised by the beauty of crop-laded fields and sunflowers. Vishnu was annoyed at her behavior. He then instructed Lakshmi to stay on Earth for the next twelve years as penance for breaking the pledge. Lakshmi was born on Earth to a farmer after this incident. With Lakshmi's presence, the farmer grew very rich in no time and his fortune kept on increasing. Twelve years passed and Lord Vishnu came down from Vaikuntha to take Lakshmi along with him. He went and told the farmer to let her go. However the farmer was adamant to not let her go even after Lakshmi appeared in her true form. This is when Lakshmi promised to visit him every year on the day of Dhanteras. The farmer agreed and released her. After this, every year he would clean his house before Dhanteras and light numerous lamps to welcome the Goddess. Lakshmi was happy with his service and continued blessing him with wealth and fortune. When other people in the village came to know about this, even they started following the same ritual, and hence the festival of Dhanteras began.

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