The five day long Diwali Festival begins with Dhanteras. It is also known as Dhantrayodashi or Dhanwantri Trayodashi. It falls on the auspicious thirteenth lunar day of Krishna Paksha in the Hindu month of Karthik (October / November). In Sanskrit, “Dhan” means wealth and Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped on this occasion and holds a lot of significance among the business community.
On the occasion of Dhanteras, houses and business premises are cleaned and decorated with flowers and other materials. Traditionally people put rangoli in front of the houses and offices as a welcome to Goddess Lakshmi. They also draw small foot prints of the Goddess with rice flour and vermillion powder all over the houses to indicate her long awaited arrival. They light lamps inside the house.
Also on the day of Dhanteras, people consider it auspicious to buy gold and silver articles. It is believed that buying such precious metals on this day would bring in good luck and hence widely practised among the business community.Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped throughout the days of Diwali and lamps made of clay are lighted inside and around the house which makes for a beautiful sight. Bhajans and devotional songs praising the greatness of Goddess Lakshmi are done in communities and this day being the first day of Diwali, its feasting time for everyone and sweets are distributed among friends and relatives. Also, in many parts of India, cattle is worshipped on this day as it is widely believed that Goddess Lakshmi resides in a cattle.