Observed on the 13th lunar day of Krishna Paksha during the month of Ashvini on the Hindu Calendar, this holiday worships Dhanvantari — a deity considered the god of Ayurveda who gave the wisdom of Ayurveda for the betterment of humankind and to help rid the world of disease.

Dhanteras is the worship of Lord Dhanvantari, who held the sacred text of Ayurveda in one hand and an Ayurvedic herbal mix that bestowed immortality in the other hand. He is portrayed this way because he is considered to be the doctor, or the Vaidya, of the gods.

The Significance of Dhanteras

According to popular legend, when the Asuras and the Devas performed the Samudra Manthan, also known as the “Churning of the Ocean,” for the divine nectar of immortality known as Amrita, the physician of the gods, Dhanvantari, emerged carrying a jar of the elixir on the day of Dhanteras.

Dhanteras Hindu Celebrations

Since it’s a part of Diwali, it’s also common to decorate cows and worship them as sacred animals. The cows are given the utmost respect and nurtured. Following this initial day of Vasubaras comes the official holiday of Dhanteras. Dhanteras is composed of two words that have specific meanings when combined.

The first part “Dhan” means wealth, and the second part “Teras” means the 13th day. This is appropriate since it falls on the 13th lunar day of Krishna Paksha during the month of Ashwin and is a holiday that celebrates the deities of wealth. However, it also celebrates the god of knowledge. This holiday is also known as Dhanatrayodashi or Dhanvantari Trayodashi.

This festival is observed as Lakshmi Puja, which is performed with the lighting of clay lamps known as Diyas, with the singing of devotional songs in praise of Goddess Lakshmi, and Naivedhya (offerings to god) of traditional sweets.

Although there are a number of different food items that are used for Naivedhya, including cooked food and fruits, one of the main dishes served to deities in Maharashtra is a dish made with ground coriander seeds and cane sugar.

On this day, it’s also customary for people to ensure their homes are cleaned in preparation for Diwali — if they haven’t already done so. Lord Dhanvantari is then worshipped in the evening hours. Most devotees will decorate the outside of their homes with holiday lights, beautiful colored lanterns, and Rangoli-design motifs.

This is done to welcome the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Because Hindus believe that this day is very auspicious, many devotees will make new purchases such as jewelry, utensils, or other household objects. It’s also a good day for Hindus to purchase new cars or household appliances.

A Final Word on Dhanteras

This is a day of celebration for Hindus and a day not only for them to celebrate what they have but also to petition their deities for the continued success of their families and for continued good luck, health, happiness, and wealth. It’s very auspicious for everyone who celebrates it.

When is it?
This year (2024)
October 29 Tuesday
Next year (2025)
October 18 Saturday
Last year (2023)
November 10 Friday