2018 Diwali festivities will begin with Dhanteras on Monday, November 5. Dhanteras is of great importance because three significant legends are associated with the auspicious day.
Dhanteras literally means dhan+ teras (wealth and 13th day). This is because the day falls on the thirteenth Krishna Paksha day in the Hindu month of Kartik. On this day, it is believed that Goddess Lakshmi was churned out of the milky ocean. And hence, she is worshipped with Kubera for wealth and prosperity.
It is also the day that marks the emergence of Lord Dhanavantri with a pitcher full divine nectar or Amrita Kalash. A number of people worship Dhanavantri for good health and well-being by offering their prayers to him.
Lord Yama is also worshipped by a number of people on this day. A lighted deep (Diya) referred to as the Yama Deepam is kept outside the house to please the God of Death and in turn, seek blessings to prevent untimely death.
Here’s the legend associated with Yama Deepam:
King Hima was worried about the destiny of his 16-year-old son because his horoscope predicted death by a snake-bite on the fourth day of his marriage. Therefore, on the very day, his newly-wed wife tried all possible things to keep her husband awake all night. She laid out her ornaments and lit lamps around their room so that no serpent could find an entrance. Then she narrated stories of songs to keep him engaged. Lord Yama, the God of death arrived at their doorstep in disguise of a serpent and was left completely awestruck on seeing the beauty of the lamps. Since he failed in his mission to take the Prince’s life away because of the young bride’s presence of mind, the day is celebrated as Dhanteras.
Dhanteras 2018 Puja timings
According to Drikpanchang.com, the Dhanteras Puja Muhurta is between 18:05 to 20:01 PM. The Trayodashi Tithi begins at 01:24 AM on November 5 and ends at 23:46 on the same day.
The Pradosh Kaal starts at 17:29 and ends at 20:07 while the Vrishabha Kaal starts at 18:05 and ends at 20:01.
Dhanteras Puja Vidhi
You may perform Ganesha and Lakshmi Puja during Pradosh Kaal. Before the Puja, you can make rangolis to welcome Goddess Lakshmi. You can also make small footprints on the floor to symbolise the Goddess’ arrival. And besides these, you can also buy news utensils made of metal/steel and gold jewellery.
Earthen diyas can also be lit at the doorstep to please Yama.