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‘Dhanteras’: The Vibrantly Celebrated Hindu Festival Marks the Start of Diwali Celebrations

The 13th lunar day of “Krishna Paksha” sees the pompous celebration of the auspicious ‘Dhanteras’ or “Dhantriyodashi" which heralds the 'Diwali' festival

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Dhanteras
Rangolis and Diyas on the Occassion of Lakshmi Puja in Dhanteras. Wikimedia
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  • The term ‘Dhanteras’, “Dhan” denotes wealth and Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped on this day to gain wealth, prosperity, and well-being
  • To mark the celebration of ‘Dhanteras’ the households along with the business premises are wonderfully decorated and adorned with colorful traditional “Rangoli” designs
  • Everyone throngs to the market to buy gold or ornaments in order to bring good luck in the form of wealth

October 27, 2016: India is a land of vibrant colors and majestic festivities. Multiple celebrations and festivals are celebrated throughout the year, all around the nation. The traditions, the heritage, the celebrations are a major part of what defines our country and glorify India.

One of the oldest celebrations is the ‘Dhanteras’ celebration. This ancient festival marks the beginning of the much awaited and widely celebrated ‘Diwali’ festival. On the Hindu month of ‘Kartik’ i.e. October-November, the 13th lunar day of “Krishna Paksha” sees the pompous celebration of the auspicious ‘Dhanteras’. It is also referred as the “Dhantriyodashi” or the “Dhanwantari Triyodashi”.

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Meaning and the Traditions:-

In the term ‘Dhanteras’, “Dhan” denotes wealth. Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped on this day to gain wealth, prosperity, and well-being. ‘Lakshmi Puja’ is performed during the evening and according to Hindu myths- tiny “Diyas” (lamps) made of clay are brightly lit in order to drive away the evil-spirits! Following this day, the whole country gets illuminated with “diyas” on the occasion of the festivity till Diwali to ward off the evil from the earth.

Dhanteras
Goddess Lakshmi. Wikimedia commons

On the day of ‘Dhanteras’, it is considered extremely auspicious to purchase silver or gold items and new articles or utensils. According to the Hindus, “Dhan” or wealth in the form of brand new gold or silver made items will usher good fortune in life! Therefore, along with the ritual of “Lakshmi Puja”, another important custom is buying ‘wealth’ on ‘Dhanteras’.

Legends and History:-

The celebration of the auspicious ‘Dhanteras’ has some legends behind it. One of them is the story of the son of King Hima. It is said that the prince was doomed that he would die of a snake bite on the 4th day of his marriage. To prevent that, the wife of the young prince lit up innumerable lamps all around the place and kept a myriad of ornaments and wealth designed in a heap while keeping the prince young with her melodious songs.

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As ‘Yama’, the lord of death tried to enter in the disguise of a serpent in the prince’s chamber, he was blinded by the shimmer and dazzle of the brilliancy of the shining lamps and the wealth. He tried to approach further from the top of the heap but was mesmerized by the music and kept listening. The night passed and he had to go away without taking the prince. Since then, this very day came to be referred as “Yamadeepan” and the lamps are kept burning bright all through the night in reverential admiration of the lord of death.

Preparations and Celebrations:-

To mark the celebration of ‘Dhanteras’ the households along with the business premises are wonderfully decorated and adorned with colorful traditional “Rangoli” designs. To indicate goddess Lakshmi’s arrival and decorate the houses tiny footprints are painted with vermilion powder and rice flour. Devotional songs are sung and brightly lit lamps are kept to burn through the night. “Naivedya” or sweets are offered to the goddess. Maharashtra observes the custom of offering coriander seeds with jaggery as the “naivedya”. Everyone throngs to the market to buy gold or ornaments and the festival is celebrated with vigor and spirit.

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Dhanteras
‘Naivedya’, offered on the Puja. Wikimedia commons

This year, the festival is on 28th October and about to be celebrated with pomp and spirit. ‘Dhanteras’ heralds the famous ‘Diwali’ and the day of ‘Dhanteras’ keeps on being one of the glamorously celebrated, much awaited and adored festival of India.

-by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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All You Need To Know About The Makar Sankranti Festival

Makar Sankranti is a Hindu Festival observed every year in the month of January

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Makar Sankranti is one of the most fun filled festivals where people socialize and celebrate together in harmony. Wikimedia Commons
Makar Sankranti is one of the most fun filled festivals where people socialize and celebrate together in harmony. Wikimedia Commons

By Ruchika Verma 

  • Makar Sankranti is a Hindu Festival observed every year in the month of January
  • The festival embarks the end of Winter Season and the arrival of Summer Season
  • Sankranti is a festival of joy and is celebrated with great jest throughout India

Makar Sankranti is one of the most celebrated festivals of India. It is full of colour, jest and joy. This festival is celebrated every year in the month of January. Makar Sankranti 2018 was a huge success, and now it is hard to wait for the Makar Sankranti 2019 which will be on 15th January, next year.

Makar sankranti is celebrated in different forms in different parts of India. NewsGram took the picture in New Delhi, India
this festival is celebrated in different forms in different parts of India. NewsGram took the picture in New Delhi, India

However, before getting all excited about this fun-filled festival. It is important to know about it. Here is all you need to know about the Makar Sankranti Festival.

What is Makar Sankranti and why is it celebrated? 

Makar Sankranti is a Hindu festival which almost always arrives on 14th January of every year. The festival is famous for joyous activities like kite flying, bonfires, fairs and feats.

Also Read: The Phenomenal Essence Of ‘Surya Namaskar Yagna’

Hindus in different parts of India celebrate this festival in different forms. In north India, Sikhs celebrate it as Lohri. In Assam, it is observed as Magh Bihu, while in Tamil Nadu, it is celebrated as Pongal and as Uttarayan in Gujarat.

The Makar Sankranti festival is dedicated to the Hindu sun deity, Surya, and is celebrated on the occasion of it entering the zodiac sign, Makara (Capricorn). This denotes the arrival of longer days, i.e. the season of summer.

Kite flying is one of the most joyous activities during this festival. Wikimedia  Commons
Kite flying is one of the most joyous activities during this festival. Wikimedia Commons
Along with marking the end of Winter season, Makar Sankranti also denotes the beginning of new harvest season.
How is Makar Sankranti Celebrated?
On the day of Makar Sankranti, many people take dips in the holy rivers gaga and Yamuna as it is considered really auspicious and it is believed that one can absolve their sins that way.
People prepare delicacies like Halwa and sesame-seed laddus on this occasion. Bonfires are burnt and people celebrate by dancing around it. Kite flying is also one of the most important activities which are undertaken to celebrate the festival of Sankranti, especially in Gujarat.

Makar sankranti is celebrated as Magh Bihu in Assam. Wikimedia Commons
Makar Sankranti is celebrated as Magh Bihu in Assam. Wikimedia Commons
One of the most fun parts of the Sankranti Festival is the organisation of various fairs. Fairs like Kumbh Mela, Gangasagar Mela and Makara Mela are some of the most famous fairs which are organised during this Indian festival.
Makara Sankranti is a wonderful festival which is a great way for people to socialise and celebrate together.