So what is Dhanteras? the legend goes like this… King Hima’s sixteen year old son was doomed to die by a snake-bite on the fourth day after of his marriage according to his horoscope. On the said day his young wife did not allow him to sleep, instead she piled up all the ornaments and lots of gold and silver coins in a big heap at the entrance of her husband’s bedroom and lit numerous lamps throughout the house. then continued to tell stories and sing songs.
When Yama, the god of Death arrived disguised as a snake 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.
To mark this day, houses and business premises are renovated and decorated. Entrances are made colourful 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.
On Dhanteras Hindus consider it auspicious to purchase gold or silver articles something made of metal. It is believed that new “Dhan” or some form of precious metal is a sign of good luck.
Dhanteras is celebrated with great enthusiasm. “Lakshmi-Puja” is performed in the evenings when tiny diyas of clay are lit to drive away the shadows of evil spirits. Devotional songs of praise to Goddess Laxmi are sung and traditional sweets are offered to her.
In villages cattle are adorned and worshiped by farmers as they form the main source of their income.