Dhanteras, or Dhan Teras, is the first day of Deepavali or it marks the beginning of Diwali celebrations in
North India. It is observed two days before Diwali. Also known as Dhanvantari Puja or Dhantra Yodashi, it falls on the thirteenth day of the dark fortnight of Kartik Month. In Gujarat and Maharashtra, the same period is the thirteenth day of Ashwina month. In 2008, the date of Dhanteras is October 26.
A new utensil or gold or silver is bought for the house on the Dhan Teras day. Some people make an investment on the day. Most people also wait for the day to give away Diwali gifts. The day is also dedicated to Dhanavantri, the physician of the demi-Gods, and therefore special Dhanvantari Puja is held on the day.
The day is of great importance to business community and homes. Houses are decorated and special rangolis are drawn on the floor. Small foot prints are made in the houses.
Importance of Dhanteras and legends associated with it can be found in this article.