The last festival during the Diwali is Labh Pancham on Kartik. It is also known as 'Laakheni Panchmi' and 'Saubhagya Panchmi'. Pancham is an auspicious day to commence business. Jains celebrate Pancham or Panchami by worshiping their books and praying for more knowledge. Hindu businessmen worship Goddess Lakshmi and open their accounts. Those who have not performed Sharda Pujan on Diwali, perform pujan of their new ledgers today and ritually open their shops and businesses. In the days following Diwali including today, people visit friends and relatives, to renew solidarity. Sweets and other items are offered to guests, symbolically 'sweetening' relations. 'Labh' means benefit. People today usually wish for material 'labh' such as: a good job, good in-laws, riches and so forth. Yet the scriptures and sadhus inform us that the greatest 'labh' is human birth itself. With this one should endeavor for God-realization. The scriptures define 'labh' as:- Laabhasteshaam jayasteshaam kutasteshaam paraajayaha, Yeshaam indeevarashyaam hrudayastho janaardanaha. He is the true beneficiary and the truly victorious, who has installed the consort of Lakshmi, God, in his heart. Diwali then, is a festival of inner enlightenment. It is an occasion to eradicate one's inner darkness, by renouncing any addictions, bad habits and 'doshas' - base instincts, by obeying the God.
Dhanteras is a first day festival of the great and famous Hindu festival, Diwali which is the five-days long festival and celebrated in traditionally all over the India. Dhanteras festival is celebrated on triodasi of the Krishna Paksha (the dark fortnight).
It is also known as Dhanvantari Triodasi, commemorated on the propitious 13th lunar day of the Krishna paksha of the month of Kartik. According to the Hindu calendar, the month of Kartik falls between the month of October and November.
The meaning of Dhanteras is wealth; at this day people make pray to the Goddess Lakshmi to get prosperous life and well being. They worship Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha together. There is a custom of purchasing new things and bring it at home which makes the meaning that Lakshmi came home. And the whole year Lakshmi will come to the home like today. Dhanteras embraces a unique worth for the business communities as they make customary purchases of the valuable metals on this day.
History and Legends of Dhanteras :-
There is an interesting story behind celebrating the Dhanteras festival. It is considered that, once upon a time, King Hima’s sixteen year old son was destined to pass away just by the snake-bite on the fourth day of his marriage. His wife was very clever and she did not allow her husband to sleep on 4th day of the marriage. She arranges some gold ornaments as well as a lot of silver coins and made a large heap at the doorway of her husband. She also made light with the help of numerous lamps all around the place of his husband.
When the God of death, (Yama), came to his husband in the appearance of a snake, his eyes got sightless by the dazzling light of the lamps, silver coins and gold ornaments. So the lord Yama could not get entered into his chamber. Then he tried to ascend on top of the heap and started to listen the harmonious songs of his wife. Early in the morning, he had to gone away without taking her husband. Therefore the very young and newly married wife had saved her husband life from the death. That’s why, the Dhanteras is also known as the Yamadeepdaan. Diyas or candles are kept blazing during the whole night in respect to the God Yama.
Another myth is, a long ago Gods and demons stirred the ocean to get Amrita or nectar, after many days the Lord Vishnu had came out on the day of Dhanteras having a jar of the elixir.
Preparations for Dhanteras :-
Everybody waits for this day with lots of excitement to come soon as this is very lucky day for the houses and business premises. They renovate and decorate their homes or business premises with new paints, lights, Diyas, candle, flowers and rangoli. Entrance gate gets decorated with the colorful and traditional designs of rangoli in order to welcome the Goddess Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity). They stick ready-made small footprints of the Lakshmi going into their home or they mix rice flour into vermilion powder and draw small footprints all over the houses.
Traditions and Customs of Dhanteras :-
It is a great festival for Hindus as they purchase gold or silver coins, jewelry, utensils and other new things. It is considered that bringing new things to home is a sign of good luck. Lakshmi Puja is held in the evening of the day with the tiny Diyas of clay, Bhajan, and devotional songs to respect Goddess Lakshmi. The light of tiny Diyas denotes that the shadow of evil spirits will drive away from home.
Celebrations of Dhanteras :-
The Dhanteras is celebrated by the Hindu people with the big passion and enthusiasm. They do Lakshmi Puja by offering her ghee Diyas, Bhajans, devotional songs, Naivedya of traditional sweets, roli and arti. People take bath early in the morning, even some people keep fast for full day. They break their fast after sunset with the puja of Goddess Lakshmi, and then they eat delicious sweetmeats, kheer, puri and sabji. Many people inaugurate their new business premises, launch new projects, buy car, jewelleries, saree, and many more things on this auspicious day.
Significance of Dhanteras :-
People consider themselves so lucky by bringing new gifts, utensils, coins, jewellery and other things at home on the day of Dhanteras. It is considered that Goddess Lakshmi is coming home in the form of new things at this day. Puja of the Goddess Lakshmi and Ganesh is performed in the evening according to the timings of shubh muhurta. The seven cereals are worshipped at this day including barely, wheat, Urad, gram, Moong and Masoor.
Lord Dhanwantri, known as the doctor of all the Gods, was born on the day of Dhanteras or Dhan Trayodashi. That’s why any new discovery of medical science field starts at this day. People buy silver coins (having pictures of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesh) at this day.
Story of Dhanteras :-
Once, there was a king who was ruling his kingdom very happily. After several years he was adorned with the birth of a baby boy in his house. He was said by the astrologer that his son will die 4 days after the marriage. Then the king had started preventing his son from the girls. He had hidden his son on the place where no lady was there. But once, prince met a princess while passing his way. They had decided for getting married.
According to the prediction, after 4 days of marriage the Yamdoot came there to take the life of prince. His wife started weeping for his husband then Yamdoot asked to the Yamraj that please tell her a way to save his husband life. Yamraj said that, the one who will worship him in the night of Trayodashi in the Kartik Krishna Paksha with the lamps facing to the south, has no fear of sudden death. That’s why people lit lamps outside their houses facing towards south on the day of Dhanteras.