Dhanteras is one of the most significant festivals celebrated by the Hindus with great fervour, just two days before the festival of lights i.e. Diwali. Dhanteras is celebrated as the festival of wealth and prosperity on the 13th day of the dark fortnight in the Hindu month of Kartika. The celebrations and rituals differ from region to region and it truly depicts the Indian diversity. On this day, people purchase new clothes, utensils, gold, silver and gifts for themselves and their loved ones. Dhanteras also holds great importance for the business community and thus, to rejoice this festivity, they decorate their business centres with flowers and decorative lights, etc. Besides this, they set up some even set up new businesses, launch new projects, hold housewarmings, and buy new things. On this day, the first lamps of the Diwali celebration are lit and also, people hang up the paper lanterns with festoons, welcoming the festival of lights.
On this day, rangolis are made on the main entrance of the house and tiny footprints of Goddess Lakshmi are drawn with vermillion to symbolize her coming. In many of the regions, Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, is welcomed on this day and in the evening special puja is performed, devotional songs are sung and various types of sweets are offered to her. In Maharashtra, there is a unique custom of offering the prasad made of light pound dry coriander seeds mixed with jaggery. Earthen lamps are lit in order to keep the evil spirits and negative energy away. In some places, people wake up early in the morning, take bath, wear new clothes and observe fast for the whole day. Then, they break their fast after lighting an earthen lamp in front of the main entrance of the house.
In various regions of North India, Maharashtra and Gujarat, Dhanteras is considered an auspicious day to purchase gold, silver, new utensils to mark the celebrations. Purchasing of metals like gold silver, etc. is considered as a sign of good fortune and affluence. In the villages, cattle are beautified and worshipped by the farmers as they are their main source of the income. In the southern parts of India, cows are worshipped on this day as they are believed to be the incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi. In addition to this, in some regions of the country, deep daan is a significant ritual which is observed on this day. Earthen lamps are lit in the name of every family member and the ancestors, and are floated in a nearby river or a pond.