Dhanteras, also known as 'Dhanatrayodash' is a festival celebrated by Hindus. On this day, people purchase utensils and jewellery to bring good luck. The word is derived from 'Dhan' meaning wealth and 'Teras' which means thirteen. The day falls on the thirteen lunar day of Krishna Paksha in the Hindu month of the calendar, every year. The day usually falls 1-2 days before Diwali. This year, the festival will be celebrated on the 23th of October, which is Sunday and one day before the festival of lights.
Just like many Indian festivals, this day is too linked to famous Hindu mythological stories. There's an interesting story behind Dhanteras, for which people worship Lord Yamaraja on this day. As per one of the popular stories, it is believed that the horoscope of a king's son predicted that he will die on the fourth day of marriage after getting bitten by a snake. On the 4th day of his marriage, his wife decided to turn the fate around. She made sure her husband didn't sleep, as she narrated stories to keep him awake.
To lure the snake away, she laid out all the ornaments and coins at the entrance in a heap. It is believed when the God of Death came in disguise of a snake, he was blinded by all the dazzling jewellery and coins. This way the serpent couldn't enter the prince's chamber and also got hooked to the wife's stories and songs. It is believed that he silently left the place in the morning and bared the life of the prince.
Another interesting story which is very popular is the one featuring Lord Dhanvantari, who is the physician of the Gods and an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who came out of an ocean that is believed to be churned by the Gods and demons on the day of Dhanteras.Since then Dhanteras is known as one of the most auspicious days and one of the biggest festivals for Hindus. People also worship Lord Yamaraja, the God of Death in the night and offer prayers to seek blessings. Just before Diwali people clean their houses, decorate with lights and diyas to keep the evil forces and negative energy away.