Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Dhanteras!!

Well.... as a passing thought I thought I'd tell people about some of the stuff being done in India on account of Diwali day after tomorrow. So here goes the first day - Dhanteras....

Dhanteras

Dhanteras marks the first day of five-days-long Diwali Festival. Dhanteras Festival, also known as Dhantrayodashi or Dhanwantari Triodasi, falls on the auspicious thirteenth lunar day of Krishna Paksha in the Hindu month of Kartik (October/November). In the word Dhanteras, "Dhan" stands for wealth. On Dhanteras Goddess Laxmi is worshiped to provide prosperity and well being. Hence Dhan Teras holds a lot more significance for the business community.

Dhanteras Legends

A very interesting story about Dhanteras Festival says that once the sixteen year old son of King Hima. was doomed to die by a snake-bite on the fourth day of his marriage as per his horoscope. On that particular fourth day of his marriage his young wife did not allow him to sleep. She laid all the ornaments and lots of gold and silver coins in a big heap at the entrance of her husband's boudoir and lighted innumerable lamps all over the place. And she went on telling stories and singing songs.

When Yama, the god of Death arrived there in the guise of a Serpent his eyes got blinded by that dazzle of those brilliant lights and he could not enter the Prince's chamber. So he climbed on top of the heap of the ornaments and coins and sat there whole night listening to the melodious songs. In the morning he quietly went away. Thus the young wife saved her husband from the clutches of death. Since then this day of Dhanteras came to be known as the day of "Yamadeepdaan" and lamps are kept burning throughout the night in reverential adoration to Yam, the god of Death.

According to another popular legend, when the gods and demons churned the ocean for Amrit or nectar, Dhanavantri (the physician of the gods and an incarnation of Vishnu) emerged carrying a jar of the elixir on the day of Dhanteras.

Dhanteras Preparations

To mark the auspicious day, houses and business premises are renovated and decorated. Entrances are made colorful with lovely traditional motifs of Rangoli designs to welcome the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity. To indicate her long-awaited arrival, small footprints are drawn with rice flour and vermilion powder all over the houses. Lamps are kept burning all through the nights.

Dhanteras Traditions

On Dhanteras Hindus consider it auspicious to purchase gold or silver articles or at least one or two new utensils. It is believed that new “Dhan” or some form of precious metal is a sign of good luck. "Laxmi-Puja" is performed in the evenings when tiny Diyas of clay are lighted to drive away the shadows of evil spirits. "Bhajans"-devotional songs- in praise of Goddess Laxmi are also sung.

Dhanteras Celebrations

Dhanteras is celebrated with gusto and enthusiasm. "Lakshmi-Puja" is performed in the evenings when tiny diyas of clay are lighted to drive away the shadows of evil spirits. Bhajans ir devotional songs- in praise of Goddess Laxmi are sung and "Naivedya" of traditional sweets is offered to the Goddess. There is a peculiar custom in Maharashtra to lightly pound dry coriander seeds with jaggery and offer as Naivedya. In villages cattle are adorned and worshiped by farmers as they form the main source of their income. In south cows are offered special veneration as they are supposed to be the incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi and therefore they are adorned and worshiped on this day.

The festival of Dhanteras is also known by the names of Dhantrayodashi and Dhanvantari Trayodashi (Dhanwantari Trayodashi). It is the festival that marks the beginning of the diwali celebrations and therefore it is considered the first day of five days long festivities of diwali. The term 'dhanteras' consists of two factors 'dhan', which literally means wealth and 'teras', which means thirteenth. Here thirteenth is meant to indicate the day 'Trayodashi', on which dhanteras falls. Dhanvantari Trayodashi (Dhanwantari Trayodashi) is celebrated on the thirteenth lunar day of Krishna Paksha, of the Hindu month of Kartik, that is two days before diwali.


I hope I have been able to guide you a little into the world of Diwali - "The Festival of Lights".

7 comments:

Keshi said...

Happy Diwali to ya Sam!

Some great history here..wow Im impressed of ur knowledge.


**Thus the young wife saved her husband from the clutches of death.

thats a great story...loved it.


Excellent post!
Keshi.

Sam said...

Same to you Keshi!!
As for the stuff... well had researched them last year for some Diwali decoration stuff as work... our project team had designed each bay as per the theme of teh five days of diwali!!

Ashu said...

Happy Diwali Sumit. Aint u going home ?

Sam said...

nah!! was at Kolkata last week.... so can't take a break for Kolkata now!!
wish you the best for diwali...

Madhavi said...

Hey Sam...
First n foremost HAPPY DIWALIIIIIIIIIIIIII to u...May the FEstival of lights bring lodsa of happiness n joy n each of ur unattended n long time desires & wishes come true with the lights seeping in :)
Hey u were in Kolkata whn kab ??? cud hve met u up na? nevr mind therz alwyz a next time n a lil couldnt hve got a muchhhhhhh better account..thanks myslf didnt knw nethng expct the meaning of Dhanteras...
HAPPY DIWALI BUDDY once again :)
Love n tkcr

FireWhisky said...

informative... n vry well put...

happy diwali

Keshi said...

thats interesting!

btw wheres ur ans to my Kissing post? :)


Keshi.