The term Dhanteras is split into two words meaning wealth and the thirteenth day. Thus, the festival of Dhanteras is celebrated as the first event over the five days of Diwali celebrations. In the month of Ashwin, Dhanteras falls on the thirteenth day (Trayodashi) during Krishna Paksha (waning phase of moon). On the day of Dhanteras, people buy gold, silver, valuables, vehicles and other precious items.
On the day of Dhanteras, puja is performed to Ganesh, the lord of knowledge and Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth. As per the stories in the Puranas, Goddess Lakshmi emerged from the ocean on this day when the gods and demons churned it in pursuit of the immortal nectar. Hence Dhanteras is celebrated as the day of incarnation of Goddess Maha Lakshmi. Many people also worship Lord Kuber, the god of wealth on this day.
Dhanteras is also celebrated as Dhanvantri Trayodashi. Hindu puranas say it was a day after the Dhanteras that Lord Dhanvantri, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu emanated from the ocean carrying the pot of nectar.
Why buy metal on Dhanteras
Depending on their financial capacity, people buy items in gold, silver, brass or at least some metal utensils on this day. The age old beliefs say buying metal on this day brings good luck and auspiciousness into the household. A legend says the woman of a household kept Lord Yama out of the house from taking toll of her husband’s life by heaping piles of gold in front of the house. Hence Dhanteras marks the day of purchasing some precious items and displaying them in the puja.