November 12, 2012 Leave a comment
Dhanteras falls on the thirteenth day of the month of Ashwin. The word “Dhan” means wealth. As such, this day of the five-day Diwali festival has a great importance for the rich mercantile community of Western India. Houses and business premises are renovated and decorated. Entrances are made colourful with lovely traditional motifs of Rangoli designs to welcome the Goddess of wealth and prosperity. To indicate her long-awaited arrival, small footprints are drawn with rice flour and vermilion powder all over the houses. Lamps are kept burning all through the nights.
Believing this day to be auspicious women purchase some gold or silver or at least one or two new utensils.Home appliances and new clothes and furnishing are other common purchases.The idea is that the spirit of prosperity that the heavy duty shopping signifies will continue throughout the year.
“Lakshmi-Puja” is performed in the evenings when tiny diyas of clay are lighted to drive away the shadows of evil spirits. “Bhajans”-devotional songs- in praise of Goddess Laxmi are sung and “Naivedya” of traditional sweets is offered to the Goddess.There is a peculiar custom in Maharashtra to lightly pound dry coriander seeds with jaggery and offer as Naivedya. In villages cattle are adorned and worshipped by farmers as they form the main source of their income. In the South cows are offered special veneration as they are supposed to be the incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi and therefore they are adorned and worshipped on this day.