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Dhan Teras

5 November, 2018

Diwali
, Dhanteras

Each of the festivals that we celebrate has some story and legend behind it, and many a time, we have no idea about it. However, it is always good to know and also pass it on to our next generations. When the rituals are explained and associated with the beliefs behind those, the younger generation learns to value and celebrate the same.

Next week, we have Dhan Teras falling on the 5th Nov and Diwali on the 6th Nov in South India and on 7th in most parts of North India. Typically, most parts get into a celebratory mood from the 5th Nov onwards with preparations starting and families getting together. It is one of the most equally grandly celebrated festivals across India, except perhaps for the state of Kerala, where it has not much significance.

Dhan Teras

So, before Diwali comes Dhan Teras, which is said to be a very auspicious festival. It is a combination of two words Dhan which means wealth and Teras which stands for the thirteenth lunar day of the Krishna Paksha of the Kartik month. There is a belief that if you buy wealth in the form of gold, silver, etc. it will be extremely auspicious throughout the year. There are many stories behind this.

One of the stories is about the 16-year-old Prince, the son of King Hima, whose horoscope predicted that he would die on the fourth day of his marriage from a snake bite. His wife had heard the prediction did not allow him to sleep the whole night. She laid out all her gold and silver ornaments in a heap at the entrance and also lit up the entire room with Diyas and kept telling interesting stories and even sang songs to ensure her husband would not fall asleep.

Yama, the god of death, came by and climbed on the heap and sat there and listened to all the stories and songs and went away without taking the life of the Prince. This devotion of the new bride which led to her husband being saved from the clutches of death came to be known as Dhan Teras.

There is another story that narrates that this day is when Dhanvantari emerged with a pot of Amrit when the ocean was churned. Typically Goddess Lakshmi is prayed to on this day as she is regarded as the Goddess of wealth. This is also the reason why people buy gold, silver or other utensils, etc. on this day.

Other Diwali rituals and poojas

The day after Diwali on the 8th Nov, it is celebrated as Govardhan Pooja in many parts of North India. The rituals are for husbands to gift their wives on this day to commemorate the bonding. Newlywed couples are also invited and given gifts by their parents. As the name goes, this is celebrated in honor of Lord Krishna who lifted the Govardhan Parvat to protect the people from the wrath of Lord Indra.

On 9th Nov, Bhai Dhuj is celebrated, wherein the brother-sister bond takes importance just as on the Raksha Bandhan day. Brothers visit their sisters on this day and sisters put a Tilak on their forehead. The sisters also perform Arti for the brother and provide them with a sumptuous meal and pray for the health and long lives of their brothers, in return for the love and protection they get from their brothers. Brothers also offer gifts to the sisters in return for all the love and prayers.

Hence, starting from the 6th Nov, which in the North is celebrated as Choti Diwali, it is a real festive season for the people of India all around. Houses are lit up with Diyas and lights, sweets and savories are made and distributed, houses are cleaned, new clothes, furniture, gold, and silver, etc. may be purchased, and people, in general, have a good time. Crackers are also burst, however, with the rising pollution, there is a partial ban on crackers this time around, so stay safe and have a good time.

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