Dhanteras is the inaugural day that starts off the Diwali celebrations. The day is associated with purchase of gold and worship of Goddess Lakshmi. Exchanging of gold and silver gifts are popular traditions associated with the festival. Around 200 kg of gold jewellery is manufactured in Bengal every day. People buy gold the day before Diwali to bring good fortune and wealth for the coming year.
The first day of Diwali is known as Dhanteras or Dhantrayodashi, which falls on the 13th day of the month of Ashvin according to the Hindu calendar. The name is derived from the root word wealth. Dhanteras is known as a convenient day for the Hindus, as we celebrate with the purchase of precious metals such as gold or silver for good luck next year. It is not surprising then that today is the day that Hindus worship the revered Lakshmi, goddess of wealth . For many companies, Hindus today marks the beginning of the new fiscal year.
Many worship through this day Lakshmi Puja, which is a Hindu tradition of placing lighted clay pots outside their houses in the hope that she can make a visit to their house and bless them with prosperity in the coming year. These lamps are left burning on the doors of the house all night for its light path. It is believed that Lakshmi visits homes that are clean and only those who are worthy of acquiring and retaining wealth and hard work. She does not visit the lazy or those who keep their homes uncleanly.
It is a day for worship and offering sweets, fruits and flowers on the goddess Lakshmi. It is also believed that today, an incarnation of Vishnu, known as Dhanvantari installed, was born. Vishnu as Dhanvantari installed is known as the physician of the gods.