Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Driving home from office was a nightmare today! The usual 20 minute drive turned into more than an hours drive because the streets were clogged with traffic. The madness on road today was due to celebration of a popular hindu festival called Dhanteres. 

Dhanteras is the first day of the five-day Diwali Festival as celebrated in India. The word Dhan means wealth and Teras means 13th day as per Hindu calendar. It is celebrated on the thirteenth lunar day of Krishna paksha (dark fortnight) in the Hindu calendar month of Ashvin
On Dhanteras, Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped to provide prosperity and well being. On Dhanteras it is considered auspicious to buy a metal object for the household. Lord Kubera, the God of assets and wealth is also worshiped on this day. This requirement explains the traffic on the roads today as people throng markets to get a new metal utensils or gold/silver coins.
The legend
As per an ancient legend the horoscope of the 16 year old son of King Hima predicted his death by snake-bite on the fourth day of his marriage. After his marriage, the princes newly-wed wife did not allow him to sleep on the 4rth day of his marriage. She laid out all her jewellery and lots of gold and silvercoins in a heap at the entrance of the sleeping chamber and lit lamps all over the place. Then she sang songs and narrated stories to keep her husband from falling asleep. The next day, when the god of Death (Yama) arrived at the prince’s doorstep in the guise of a Serpent, his eyes were dazzled and blinded by the brilliance of the lamps and the jewellery. Yama could not enter the Prince's chamber, so he climbed on top of the heap of gold coins and sat there the entire night listening to the stories and songs. In the morning, he silently went away. Thus, the young prince was saved from the clutches of death by the cleverness of his new bride, and the day came to be celebrated as Dhanteras. The following day came to be called Naraka Chaturdashi ('Naraka' means hell and Chaturdashi means 14th). It is also known as ‘Yamadeepdaan’ as the ladies of the house light earthen lamps or ‘deep’ and these are kept burning throughout the night glorifying Yama, the God of Death. Since this is the night before Diwali, it is also called 'Chhoti Diwali' or Diwali minor Diwali.
According to another popular legend, when the Gods and demons churned the ocean for Amrita or nectar, Dhanvantari (the physician of the Gods and an incarnation of Vishnu) emerged carrying a jar of the elixir on the day of Dhanteras

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