Dhanteras also known as Dhantrayodashi is celebrated on the first day of Diwali which falls on the thirteenth lunar day of Krishna Paksha. On the day of Dhanteras, Lord Kubera, the God of wealth and Goddess Lakshmi are worshipped. The day is also celebrated as Dhanwantari Triodasi or Dhanvantari Jayanti, which marks the birth anniversary of Dhanvantari, the God of Ayurveda. There is also a ritual to lit lamps outside the home to ward off the untimely death of any family members. In 2017, Dhanteras falls on October 17.
According to a popular legend, when the Gods and the demons were churning the ocean for nectar, Dhanvantari emerged carrying a jar of exilir on Dhanteras. Dhanvantari is an incarnation of Vishnu and the physician of the Gods.
According to another legend, King Hima had a son and his horoscope predicted that he will be killed by snake-bite on the fourth day of his marriage. On the said day, his newly wed-wife placed a heap of ornaments at the entrance of their house and lit lamps all over the place. She sang songs and recited stories to keep his husband awake. When Yama came he was dazzled by the shine of the jewellery. He sat outside listening to the stories and songs. In the morning, Yama left without the prince. The prince was saved because of the cleverness of his new bride and since then the day is celebrated as Naraka Chaturdashi – Naraka means hell and Chaturdashi means 14th. The day is also called as ‘Yamadeepdaan’ and people light earthen diyas outside the house to avoid untimely deaths and glorify the God of death.
People make rangolis, light clay diyas and stick footprints of Goddess Lakshmi to welcome wealth and prosperity to their home. In the evening, people offer puja to Goddess Lakshmi by offering marigold garland, lighting ghee diyas, dhoop, and offering bhog. It is considered auspicious to purchase gold and silver articles as it is believed that new dhan is a sign of good luck.
The auspicious time to perform Dhanteras is during Pradosh Kaal, when sthir lagna prevails.
Dhanteras Puja Muhurta: October 17 between 7:52 pm and 8:39 pm
Pradosh Kaal: 6:10 pm to 8:39 pm
Vrishabha Kaal: 7:52 pm to 9:52 pm