English meaning of the festival
According to Hindu scriptures, Lord Vishnu incarnated as Dhanvantari. Hence, this day is called “Dhanvantari Trayodashi or Dhan Teras”. Trayodashi means thirteen. Teras is an abbreviated form of Trayodashi.
How the date is decided annually
The two days before Diwali, is known as Dhan Teras or Dhan Trayodashi. This is the 13th day in the dark phase of the month of Karthik.
Significance of the festival to Hinduism
The incarnation of Dhanvantari is associated with the churning of the ocean. This day is also considered the appearance day of the Kalsa. Bhagwan Dhanvantari is highly worshiped. Scholars of the Ayurveda and the Hindu world of medicine revere her. It is believed that beings who are afflicted with the disease should especially worship Bhagwan Dhanvantari.
How to observe/practice
On this day of Dhan Teras, one should awake before sunrise and prepare a thari, scattered with grain, and a ghee/oil lamp with a wick. The lamp should be lit at the house’s main door with the flame facing south. An appeal should be to God in the form of Yamaraj (God of death), to be spared from untimely death. One may offer perfume, flowers, agarbati, aarthi, and sweetmeat on this thari. As far as possible, one should fast on this day or maintain a strict vegetarian diet.
Updated: 25 January 2023