When is Dhanteras 2021? Date of first day of Diwali - and what time is Puja Vidhi in UK

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Dhanteras is the first day of the festival of lights

Dhanteras, also known as Dhanatrayodashi, is the first day marking the festival of Diwali, and is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains and some Buddhists across the world.

The word Dhanteras derives from “Dhan” meaning wealth and “Teras” meaning thirteen.

But when is Dhanteras and what does it celebrate?

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When is Dhanteras?

Dhanteras is celebrated on the 13th lunar day of Krishna Paksah, meaning dark fortnight, in the Hindu lunar calendar month of Kartik.

This year it falls on 2 November 2021.

Dhanteras usually falls one to two days before the main day of Diwali, on 4 November.

Why is Dhanteras celebrated?

Hindus consider Dhanteras to be an auspicious day for new purchases, especially for gold and silver, as this day is associated with hope and wealth.

Many Hindus buy precious metals as well as kitchenware and utensils, with some people also buying heavy appliances and automobiles.

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This festival is linked to a number of stories from Hindu mythology. One story involved the 16-year-old son of King Hima, whose horoscope predicted he would die on the fourth day of his marriage from a snake bite.

When that day came about, his wife kept him awake with tales and songs, not allowing him to sleep. She also laid out gold and silver coins outside their room.

The snake - said to be the god of death in disguise - was distracted by the shimmering coins and the wife’s stories. The snake left the following morning, with the prince still alive.

Another story involves Lord Dhanvantari, the physician of the gods.

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In Hindu Mythology, Lord Dhanvantari emerged during Samudra Manthan, a Hindu episode where a Sage named Durvasa cursed the devas (celestial beings). Lord Dhanvantari was holding a metal pot filled with an Ayurvedic herbal mix that bestows immortality in one hand, and a sacred text on Ayurveda in the other.

For some Hindus, Dhanteras is the worship of Lord Dhanvantari.

How is Dhanteras celebrated?

On Dhanteras, people clean out their homes if they have not yet been cleansed in preparation for Diwali.

People also put out Diyas (lamps) and worship Lord Dhanvantari, the god of health, in the evening.

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To welcome Goddess Lakshmi, who represents wealth and prosperity, people sing devotional songs and adorn their homes with colourful lanterns and string lights.

What is Puja Vidhi?

Puja Vidhi is a method of worship. During Diwali, Lord Ganesha and the Goddess Lakshmi are worshipped with offerings of sweets and modaks (Indian dumplings) during Dhanteras.

People also fast for the spirits of their ancestors and for their house gods. Following the puja ceremony, people light diyas to ward off evil spirits.

In the UK, Puja Vidhi commences on 2 November 2021, at 16:47 to 18:33 GMT.

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