Of late, celebrating Dhanteras has become a fad among the people of Odisha though it is known as a north Indian festival. People of the state normally buy new things during Akshaya Tritiya, an annual spring festival. But these days, people from all walks of life have been going on a shopping spree during Dhanteras. Orissa POST asked a few women whether they just follow the trend of buying gold and silver ornaments or they do it to attract good luck and prosperity through the year.
Smruti Rekha Das Bhanja, a homemaker from Khurda, says, “Though it’s not a purely Odia tradition, I do purchase something on this occasion every year because this is a trend now. While some people buy gold at any time of the day on Dhanteras, there is a certain time known as ‘mahurat’ during which the purchase is said to be more auspicious. I came to know about ‘mahurat’ from my neighbour who hails from Gujarat, so now I always try to buy gold during that time. This year, the auspicious time to buy gold was in the evening, immediately preceding the puja. The mahurat for the puja was between 6 pm and 8 pm. I bought a gold coin for my home and did a puja to mark the occasion. After all, we have to follow the trends.”
Chennai-based Chinmayee Palai says, “Dhanteras is a day for shopping for me. It is celebrated on the thirteenth day of the month of Karthik according to the Hindu calendar. This day is just two days prior to Diwali. On Dhanteras, it is a customary for some communities to buy gold or silver jewellery. Since my childhood, I have seen the tenant in our house, who is from the Marwari community, doing this puja. From her, I came to know that they worship Lord Yama, the God of Death, on this day and pray for the long life and well-being of family members and prosperity. They visit jewellery stores to buy gold or silver. The legend fascinated me, and I started doing the puja after marriage. I cannot buy gold ornaments always. This time, I bought a silver coin on the occasion.”
Rakhi Gupta, a homemaker from Gwalior, says, “It’s a pity that many people celebrate the occasion just to be part of a trend. They don’t know the legend behind Dhanteras. They just go on a shopping spree to get gold and other ornaments. This festival is also known as Dhantrayodashi. It is the first day of the Diwali festival. Hindus worship Lord Kubera, the God of Wealth, on this day. It is also believed that Goddess Lakshmi came out of the ocean with a pot of gold during the churning of the milky ocean on this day. So, devotees pray to Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Kubera on the auspicious day of Trayodashi. I follow the tradition sincerely and not to show off.”
Banita Palai from Bangalore says, “I clean my house and decorate it before the evening puja and make little feet imprints using rice flour at the entrance of the house. Besides, I also deck up the entrance with flowers, colours, and rangolis and light diyas all around the place. The festival means a lot to me. It’s true that it’s not an Odia festival. As I am a voracious reader, I happened to read a book on Goddess Lakshmi a few years ago. In that book, there is a mention of the festival and its significance. It fascinated me and I have been worshipping the Goddess since then. Although buying jewellery is customary on this day, I usually buy a new utensil for good luck.”
RASHMI REKHA DAS,OP