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Dhanteras




An interesting story about Dhanteras Festival says that, once, the sixteen year old son of King Hima was doomed to die of a snake-bite on the fourth day of his marriage as per his horoscope. So, on the fourth day of his marriage, his young wife did not allow him to sleep. 

She laid out gold ornaments and lots of silver coins in a big heap at the entrance of her husband's boudoir and lighted innumerable lamps all over the place. And she went on telling stories and singing songs. When Yama, the god of Death arrived there in the guise of a Serpent his eyes got blinded by thedazzle of those brilliant lights and he could not enter the Prince's chamber. 

So he climbed on top of the heap of ornaments and coins and sat there the whole night listening to the melodious songs. In the morning he quietly went away. Thus the young wife saved her husband from the clutches of death. Since then this day of Dhanteras came to be known as the day of "Yamadeepdaan" and lamps are kept burning throughout the night in reverential adoration to Yama (Yamaraj), the god of Death.

According to another popular legend, when the Gods and demons churned the ocean for Amrita or nectar, Dhanvantari (the physician of the Gods and an incarnation of Vishnu) emerged carrying a jar of the elixir on the day of Dhanteras.