Hindu Festival: Dhan Teyras
Dhan Teyras is the first festival in the five festivals composite Diwali. Others are Narak Chaturdashi (mini Diwali), Deepavali, Ann Koot, Goverdhan and Bhai dooj.
The festival of Dhan Teyras falls on triyodashi of Kartik Krishna Paksha, two days before Diwali (Deepawali). It is a day of two fold worship, one of Yamaraja, the other of Dhanvantri holding a pot of Amrit (immortal juice). The worship is done by lighting an earthen lamp on the main entrance of the house and offering water, vermilion, rice, jaggery and flowers to Yamaraj. This fast and worship avoids an untimely death.
Once Yamaraj asked his messengers if they had, at any time, felt aggrieved to bring any person to meet death. Reluctantly they narrated the story of a prince, son of King Hemraj whom the astrologers had prophesied death after four days of marriage. In spite of all precautions taken by the king, the prince, who was kept isolated, incidentally came into contact with a princess of Hans state, whom he married and as a result met death after four days. Hearing this Yamaraj advised the observance of fast worship and invoking the blessings of Yamaraj and Dhanvantri Kartik Kirshna triyodshi to avoid early death. There is the custom of purchasing metal utensils on this day. Silver utensils are considered more auspicious. Iron (steel) utensils are an insult to Goddess Laxmi and should be avoided.
Dhanvanti is the physician of the gods. He appeared out of the churning of the oceams, as one of the fourteen jewels emerged from the churning. He came out of the sea, holding a pot full of Amrit (immortal juice). He is worshiped on Dhan teyras day, as advised by Yama and in order to be free from disease and fear of death.