Dhantrayodashi is the first day of the traditional five-day Diwali festival. The ritual is also known as Dhanteras. In 2014, the date of Dhantrayodashi is October 21. It is observed on the thirteenth day (Trayodashi) of the Krishna Paksha (waning phase of moon) in Ashwin month. The corresponding month in North Indian calendar is Kartik Month.
The word ‘Dhan’ means wealth and the day is of great significance to the business community. Shops and business establishments are decorated on the day. Rangoli designs associated with Goddess Lakshmi are drawn. Dhanteras is observed elaborately by some Hindu communities.
Small footprints symbolizing the arrival of Goddess Lakshmi are drawn around houses. Women make it a point to by new utensils and invest in gold or silver on the day. A diya is kept burning throughout the night. Lamps are also lit during night around the house to drive away evil spirits.
Special dishes are prepared and offered to Goddess Lakshmi on the day.