Dhan Teras or Dhantrayodashi as it is also known as, falls on the thirteenth day on the dark half of the month of Ashwin, two days before Diwali and the start of Diwali. The word “Dhan” means wealth and “Teras” mean the 13th day.
This day is celebrated because to commemorate the return of Shree Ram and Sita (Lakshmi Dev) after the defeat of the demon king, Ravan – in which Shree Ram was aided by Shree Hanuman and his army of monkeys. Hence the Diwali festival is celebrated for the triumph of good over evil and this is also why we conduct Lakshmi Pujan.
An interesting story about Dhan Teras is the story of King Hima’s 16 year old son. As told in his horoscope, he was to die on the forth day of his marriage. On that specific fourth day of his marriage his wife did not permit him to sleep. She laid all the ornaments and lots of gold and silver coins in a big heap at the entrance of her husband’s bedroom and lighted numerous lamps all over the home. She went on throughout the night telling stories and singing songs. When Yam, the god of death arrived there in the appearance of a serpent, his eyes got blinded by the brightness of the lights around the home, he could not enter the prince’s chamber. He climbed on top of the heap of the ornaments and coins and sat there for the whole night listening to the melodious songs. In the morning he quietly went away.
As a result the Prince’s wife saved her husband from the clutches of death. Since then this day of Dhan Teras came to be known as the day of "Yamadeepdaan". Lamps are kept burning throughout the night in respectful adoration to Yam, the god of death.
Traditionally this is celebrated by the entrances of homes made colourful with vibrant traditional motifs of rangoli designs to welcome Lakshmi Dev. To indicate her long-awaited arrival, small footprints are drawn with rice flour and Kum-Kum all over the home. Lamps are kept burning all through the nights. It is said that the most cleanest homes will be the one that Lakshmi Dev will visit first. Believing this day to be auspicious, women purchase some gold or silver otherwise at least one or two new utensils. New Dhan or some form of precious metal is bought as a sign of good luck for the home.
On this day Lakshmi Devi “the God of wealth and beauty” is offered Puja to drive away the shadows of evil spirits and to shower prosperity along with wealth for the coming year. Also on this day cows in India are colored on the horns and are offered Puja as well because that specific animal in known to be very wealthy.