Rashmi Rekha Das

Dhanteras, the festival of wealth and prosperity, is mostly observed in North India. Of late, it has become a fad among Odia people too. Buying jewellery and precious metals is becoming popular among Odias. 

In Odisha, people usually buy new things during Akshaya Tritiya, an annual spring time festival. However, things have changed with passing time. Odia people from all walks of life these days show interest for Dhanteras and go on a shopping spree. 

Dhanteras is a combination of two words Dhan and Teras. While ‘Dhan’ means riches, ‘Teras’ signifies the thirteenth day of Krishna Paksha. The first day of Diwali in India is regarded as Dhanteras or Dhanatrayodashi.  

And buying gold jewellery in particular is considered highly auspicious during Dhanteras as gold represents wealth and success. Besides, people purchase items made of brass, silver, and metal as it is believed that buying things on the day of Dhanteras will bring good fortune, success, and protection from the evil eye. Needless to say, Odia women these days leave no stone unturned to celebrate Dhanteras with with pomp and gaiety.

OTV asks a few women whether they just follow the trend to take gold and silver ornaments home or they do it to bring good luck that attracts prosperity throughout the year.

Samapti Das, a homemaker from Puri, says, “As we know it’s not purely an Odia tradition. Still, I do purchase something on this occasion every year because this is a trend now.  While most people set out to buy gold throughout the day on Dhanteras, there are certain times, known as ‘mahurat’, during which the purchase is said to be more auspicious.  I was clueless about the fact earlier. After I came to know about the mahurat thing from my neighbour who hails from Gujarat, I always opt for buying gold during the auspicious time. This year, the auspicious time to buy gold is during evening, immediately preceding the puja.  The Dhanteras puja muhurat will be observed from 7pm to 8.17 pm on October 23. After all, we have to follow the trends.”

Utkalika Das says, “It’s just a trend because it gives a chance for shopping. You can say it is basically a day for shopping for me. Dhanteras is celebrated on the thirteenth day of the month of Karthik according to the Hindu calendar. This day is just two days prior to the Diwali. On Dhanteras it is a custom to buy jewellery of gold or silver. Since my childhood, I have seen a tenant at our house, who is from Marwari community,  doing this puja. From her, I came to know that they worship Lord Yama, the God of Death on this day so as to pray for the wellbeing of family members and seek prosperity. They visit jewellery stores to buy gold or silver on this occasion. The legend fascinated me and I started doing it after marriage. Every time, I cannot go for buying gold ornaments. This time, I bought a silver coin for the occasion.”

Neha Subudhi, a homemaker from Gwalior, says, “It’s really a pity that many people just celebrate the occasion to be part of a trend. They don’t know the legend behind Dhanteras. They just go on a shopping spree to get gold  and other ornaments. I would like to say that this festival is also known as Dhantrayodashi. It is the first day of Diwali festival. Hindus worship Lord Kubera — the God of wealth as an age old practice on this day. It is also believed that Goddess Lakshmi came out of the ocean during the churning of the milky sea with a pot of gold and wealth on this day. To pay respect to them, devotees pray to Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Kubera on the auspicious day of Trayodashi. I am following the tradition from the core of my heart not for show off.”

Smruti Sikha from Bhadrak says, “I do clean my house and decorate it before the evening puja. I also make little feet imprints using rice flour at the entrance of the house.  Besides, I also deck up the entrance with flowers, colours, rangolis and light up diyas all around the place. The festival means a lot to me. It’s true that it’s not an Odia festival.  As I am a voracious reader, I happened to read a book on Goddess Lakhmi few years back. On that book, there is a mention of the festival and its significance. It fascinated me and I have been worshipping the Goddess since then. Although buying jewellery is a custom on this day, I opt for buying a new utensil to bring good luck.”

Unknown facts about Dhanteras

Lord Dhanvantari is worshipped on the day of Dhanteras. Lord Dhanvantari, according to Hindu traditions, emerged during Samudra Manthan, holding a Kalasha full of Amrit (an Ayurvedic herbal mix bestowing immortality) in one hand and the sacred text about Ayurveda in the other hand. He is considered to be the Vaidya of Gods.

There is another interesting story related to Dhanteras. Going by the folkloreat King Hima’s 16-year-old son was predicted to die on the fourth day of this marriage due to snake bite. Knowing this, his wife did not let him sleep for the entire day and night. Also, she kept all her belongings (gold jewellry) around her husband’s bed, brightens the room with lights and started singing. As predicted, Yamraj arrived there like a serpent on the fourth night but left the King unharmed. This is why it is considered that on Dhanteras, buying gold and liting up the house can bring prosperity and no harm to you.

On the occasion of Dhanteras, buying gold is believed to bring Lord Kuber’s blessings in the house. Also, according to the popular belief the things you buy on this day become 13 times more due to the blessings of Lord of wealth.