The festival of Dhanteras is celebrated all over India in the months of October-November. It marks the commencement of five day Diwali celebrations. It takes place two days prior to Diwali, celebrated to honour an incarnation of Vishnu, Dhanvantari. Dhanteras or Dhanwantari Triodasi falls on the 13th day of the dark fortnight in the month of Kartik. The word 'Dhan' means "Wealth" and 'Teras' means "thirteenth". Lord Yama is revered on this day to provide affluence and happiness. Also known as Yamadeep, silver articles are bought for the house and iron, copper and brass utensils are purchased for the kitchen. Decorated idols or photos of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi are bought on this day and worshipped on Deepawali. There are few legends associated with this festival of Dhanteras which are as follows.
Legends And Stories of Dhanteras
The Legend Of Lord Vishnu
When gods and demons performed Samudra Manthan, they churned the sea for Amrita (elixir of life). It was then that Dhanvantari, an incarnation of Vishnu, emerged out holding the pot of nectar. Both the demons and the gods wished to be fed with ambrosia, but Vishnu's incarnation somehow managed to relish the gods with that heavenly nectar and the demons were defeated. This nectar resulted in deathlessness or immortality of the devtas, and the reason for the emergence of goddess of wealth, Goddess Lakshmi.
The Legend Of Young Prince And The Snake
Another legend has it that, on this day, 16 year old son of King Hima was destined to die as per his horoscope, after being bitten by snake on the fourth day of his marriage. On that day, in order to save him, his wife didn't let him sleep. She kept on singing songs to him, told him numerous stories. She made a big stack of all her jewels, gold and silver ornaments, at the entrance of their room. Also, she lit a number of lamps and diyas all over the place. When Lord Yama, also known as the Lord of Death, came in the guise of a snake, he became sightless due to the sparkle of the gold ornaments and couldn't enter the prince's room. The serpent thus, unable to cross the heap of ornaments, sat there overnight listening to beautiful songs. With the first light of the day, the snake went away quietly, forgetting its purpose of killing the prince. The young wife of the prince in this way saved his life from the jaws of death. Since then, this auspicious day of Dhanteras came to be known as the day of 'Yamadeepdaan'. On the eve of this festival, the lamps are kept lit throughout night symbolizing respect for Lord Yama.