Dhanteras, a significant festival celebrated by millions across the globe, marks the commencement of the five-day festival, the Festival of Lights. It signifies wealth, prosperity, and the triumph of good over evil. Yet, the true essence of Dhanteras often remains unexplored, hidden beneath the dazzling gold purchases and vibrant decorations.
The festival holds a deeper meaning, a celebration of prosperity that goes beyond material wealth. Let’s delve into the significance of Dhanteras and understand its true importance in celebrating prosperity.
Significance of Dhanteras festival
Dhanteras, also known as Dhanatrayodashi, is a significant festival marking the commencement of Diwali. It’s a day dedicated to worshiping Goddess Lakshmi, the deity of wealth, and God Dhanvantari, associated with health and longevity. The word ‘Dhan’ translates to wealth, signifying the importance of prosperity in this festival. On this day, devotees seek blessings for a healthy, happy, and wealthy life.
The festival is associated with several myths, legends, and stories, one of which involves Lord Dhanvantri, who is said to have appeared during the churning of the ocean in search of the nectar of immortality (Amrit).
The celebration of Dhanteras involves several traditional rituals and customs. Purchasing utensils and jewelry is a common practice, believed to bring good fortune and ward off evil. It is also the time when new business deals are initiated, and gold or silver jewelry is bought, symbolizing the accumulation of wealth. In addition to material prosperity, the festival emphasizes spiritual wealth, reminding individuals of the intrinsic value of good health, happiness, and a harmonious family life.
While Dhanteras is predominantly celebrated in North India, it holds significance in various other regions as well. In some parts of South India, this day marks the beginning of Diwali celebrations and is called ‘Dhanalakshmi Pooja’. In Maharashtra, people celebrate ‘Vasu Baras’, where cows are worshiped as a symbol of wealth and abundance.
In other regions, Dhanteras is celebrated as the birth anniversary of Goddess Lakshmi and is known by different names such as ‘Yama Deepam’ in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, ‘Dhantrayodashi’ in Gujarat, and ‘Dhana Trayodasi’ in Karnataka. This diversity in celebrations showcases the cultural richness of our country and the unity in diversity.
How to celebrate Dhanteras and make it memorable?
This year, we will celebrate Dhanteras on 10th November, and it’s time to prepare for the festivities. Here are some ways to make this Dhanteras a memorable one:
Cleaning the home:
Cleaning the house is an important part of Dhanteras, as it symbolizes sweeping away negative energy and inviting positivity. Deep cleaning, decorating with colorful rangolis, and lighting diyas all around the house creates an auspicious atmosphere. The role of performing these tasks together as a family is significant, bringing everyone closer and creating lasting memories.
Moreover, when you clean and declutter your home, you also create space for new things to come into your life. This ritual holds a deeper meaning, encouraging individuals to let go of unnecessary material possessions and focus on the more essential aspects of life.
Shopping for new items:
As mentioned earlier, purchasing new utensils and jewelry is an integral part of Dhanteras. But instead of just buying these items for their aesthetic value, take this opportunity to invest in quality products that will last longer and bring you happiness throughout the year. This practice teaches us to be mindful of our purchases and not get carried away by materialistic desires.
Additionally, buying from local businesses or artisans can also support small-scale industries and contribute towards the overall growth of the economy. This year, let’s make our purchases meaningful and help create a sustainable and prosperous society.
The puja (worship) rituals during Dhanteras involve worshiping the Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi, and seeking her blessings for prosperity. The puja involves offering various sweets, fruits, flowers, and diyas to the deity. It is customary to light 21 diyas during the puja, symbolizing inviting wealth and prosperity into our homes.
The puja also includes placing new utensils in front of Goddess Lakshmi’s idol, seeking her blessings to make these items a source of abundance and nourishment for the family. This ritual not only has religious importanc but also encourages individuals to appreciate the importance of daily necessities and be grateful for them.
During the puja, it is also customary to offer Panchamrit (a mixture of five ingredients – milk, curd, honey, ghee, and sugar) to Goddess Lakshmi. This act symbolizes the offering of nourishment and abundance to the deity and seeking her blessings for prosperity in our lives. Teach your kids about the significance of this ritual and encourage them to participate in preparing and offering Panchamrit.
Eating special delicacies together:
No festival in India is celebrated in joy without indulging in delicious food. On Dhanteras, it is a common practice to prepare and eat special delicacies together as a family. This not only brings joy and happiness but also strengthens family bonds and creates cherished memories. Some of the popular dishes prepared on Dhanteras include sweets like kheer, halwa, and mithai, along with savory snacks like chakli and namak pare.
Things to avoid during Dhanteras:
During the auspicious celebration of Dhanteras, there are certain items that one should avoid purchasing according to traditional beliefs. For instance, kitchen items like mustard oil, olive oil, refined oil, ghee & butter should be avoided.
Moreover, sharp objects such as knives, scissors, pins, etc., associated with ominous signs should be avoided. It is also suggested not to consume non-vegetarian food or Tamsik food, including onion, garlic, and egg, and to prepare only satvik food during the festival. Many people also avoid buying black-colored items and clothes on Dhanteras.
To summarize, Dhanteras is not just about buying new items and worshiping Goddess Lakshmi for material wealth. It is a day of significance that teaches us the value of tradition, family, and spiritual prosperity. By following these rituals and customs with devotion and understanding their importance, we can truly celebrate Dhanteras in its true essence and welcome prosperity into our lives.
So this Dhanteras, let us not just buy gold and silver but also strive to enlighten ourselves with the true meaning of prosperity. May Goddess Lakshmi bless us all with eternal wealth, happiness, and success.