Dhanteras; the Diwali kick-starter
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Dhanteras; the Diwali kick-starter

Chetan Bhattarai | November 03, 2018 21:22 hrs

Dhanteras basically ushers in Diwali, the festival of lights. It is the day people start getting their homes and places of business ready for Diwali. It is like a kick off for Diwali celebrations – the time of the year, when people get ready for savoury sweets, crackers, rangolis, ornamental diyas, latest lightings, teenpattis and much more. Basically, the idea is to get into a festive mood. This year, Dhanteras is on 5th November, Monday.

Falling on the thirteenth day of Kartik (Hindu calendar month), the festival is observed almost throughout India these days. Initially, a North Indian festival, Dhanteras has now spread across India even as the country turns more and more cosmopolitan.

“Dhanteras is also known as Dhantrayodashi or Dhanwantari in many parts of India. It ushers in Diwali and is considered the most important day for businessmen, as they offer special prayers to the Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi. It is slowly getting into the Assamese culture thanks to our kids going out for education, jobs and of course, marriages outside Assam,” says Vinod Sharma, who runs a utensils store in Ganeshguri.

Dhanteras basically ushers in Diwali, the festival of lights. It is the day people start getting their homes and places of business ready for Diwali. It is like a kick off for Diwali celebrations – the time of the year, when people get ready for savoury sweets, crackers, rangolis, ornamental diyas, latest lightings, teenpattis and much more. Basically, the idea is to get into a festive mood. This year, Dhanteras is on 5th November, Monday.

Falling on the thirteenth day of Kartik (Hindu calendar month), the festival is observed almost throughout India these days. Initially, a North Indian festival, Dhanteras has now spread across India even as the country turns more and more cosmopolitan.

“Dhanteras is also known as Dhantrayodashi or Dhanwantari in many parts of India. It ushers in Diwali and is considered the most important day for businessmen, as they offer special prayers to the Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi. It is slowly getting into the Assamese culture thanks to our kids going out for education, jobs and of course, marriages outside Assam,” says Vinod Sharma, who runs a utensils store in Ganeshguri.

On being asked how the sales are during Dhanteras, Sharma had this to say, “It was not very popular in the past. But there is a new trend, with Assamese people opening up for cultural and religious assimilations from other states, mostly influenced by their children. We do a good business during Dhanteras. Navaratri and Ganesh Chaturthi are other good examples which are changing the way we look at festivals. A lot of Assamese people, mostly in the cities and towns, observe Dhanteras and buy utensils, gold, silver and other stuff.”

It is believed to be the auspicious time to buy ornaments and other goods for the household. The largest sale of jewellery and kitchen utensils happens on this day than any other normal day. Jewellery shops are thronged throughout the day by women shoppers hoping to get the best bargains. And the shops, too, relent to the demands of the buyers by offering sales and discounts and exchange offers. One can be surprised at the footfall that popular jewellery shops witness.

“Yes, Dhanteras is indeed a day we look forward to, but this year we fear that the sales won’t be what we generally expect on this day. This is due to the rise in gold prices during the recent days. With Diwali and the wedding season round the corner people do buy during Dhanteras as it is auspicious but then again the volume may not be high. Let’s hope for the best and people in India are sentimental about weddings and auspicious days. It’s a big factor,” smiles Gopal Sen, who runs a silver and gold jewellery store in the city.

Everyone may not be interested in buying gold or silver jewellery, so as a symbolic gesture, they throng the markets to buy metal utensils. These days, it is more about buying appliances, fancier the better. Moreover, the shops try to lure customers with various discounts and exchange offers. The banks, too, chip in with their special cash-back offers and discounts on selected cards.

 “Actually, it’s is a buying and a selling spree. With the advent of the online market, this festival has gone one step-ahead and I believe delivery boys are doing overtime these days. There is no rest for anyone who is in the business of delivering the goodies for the festive season. The discounts are very good and sometimes it is a steal,” says Revati Kumari, who is a binge online shopper.

Festivals can’t be complete without the cleaning of house, decorating it with flowers and lightings and rangolis at the entrances. One can see ladies downloading images from the internet to get the most unique rangolis for their homes. Some housing societies also organise rangoli decoration competition. Flowers also form a large part of the festivities from making garlands and also being used in the rangolis. A variety of sweets are prepared in the homes to be consumed and distributed to friends and relatives.

Those who are busy and don’t have the luxury to prepare sweets depend on the sweet shops which do booming business during this time. Special packing for sweets and dry fruits has become fashionable that are mostly traded as gifts packs. Sweet shops in the city come up with innovative ways for packing the sweets for the auspicious occasion.

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