What is done on Dhanteras?
On this day, the Indian Goddess of Wealth Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped and everyone prays for well being and prosperity. This is also the day for celebrating wealth which is called Dhan in Hindi. Teras means 13th or the 13th day. Lamps are lit in the evenings and people welcome the Goddess Dhan Lakshmi in the house.
Rangolis form a mainstay of Diwali and many designs are drawn outside the houses. People make the footprints of the Goddess symbolizing the arrival of Goddess Lakshmi. There are many hymns sung in praise of the Goddess. On this day, people buy gold , silver or utensils. People also buy new clothes and deck themselves up augmenting the festival of lights Diwali.
Legend has it that there was a king called Hima. When he was 16 years old, it was predicted that he would be killed by a snake bite on the fourth day after his marriage. His wife thus did not allow him to sleep on thatnight and kept a heap of ornaments and lit lamps all over the place. The next day, Yama, the God of Death,came as a serpentt and was blinded by the brilliance of the lamps. Lord Yama could not enter King Himas house as there was a pile of jewellery and he spent the night listening to stories. The king was saved and he lived for long. Thus Dhanteras started getting celebrated.
There is another legend which speaks of the battle fought between the demons and Gods and churned the ocean to get the divine nectar. The physician of Gods, Dhanvantari came out of the ocean carrying a pot of elixir. Thus Dhanteras gets its name from this God Dhanvantari.