Dhanteras marks the first day of Diwali, the Festival of Lights.
Also known as Dhantrayodashi, the very auspicious day is celebrated on the 13th lunar day of Krishna Paksha in the Hindu calendar month of Kartik.
Diwali celebrations are set to be very different in 2020 due to coronavirus, with many events in the UK cancelled or adapted to fit in with current restrictions.
Celebrations take place over five days known as: Dhanteras (day of fortune); Naraka Chaturdashi (day of knowledge); Diwali (day of light); Annakut (New Year); Bhai Duj (day of love between siblings).
This is when Dhanteras takes place this year, and why the day is so significant for Hindus.
Why is Dhanteras celebrated?
The word Dhanteras is derived from Dhan which means wealth in Hindi and Teras which means thirteenth.
On the day of Dhanteras, it is believed that Goddess Lakshmi came out of the ocean during the churning of the Milky Sea.
Goddess Lakshmi, along with Lord Kubera, the God of Wealth, are worshipped on the day.
The day is also observed as Dhanwantari Triodasi or Dhanvantri Jayanti, the birth anniversary of the God of Ayurveda.
It is believed that Lord Dhanvantari bestowed the wisdom of Ayurveda to mankind to help rid the world of disease.
There is a common belief that Goddess Lakshmi visits the homes of her devotees and fulfils their wishes on Dhanteras, so people light diyas and keep them burning all night in honour of both Lakshmi and Dhanvantari.
When is Dhanteras 2020?
Dhanteras will be celebrated on Friday 13 November 2020, and Dhanteras Puja Muhurat is from 5:28pm to 5:59pm that evening.
As per Hindu tradition, the Puja is performed after sunset. The Pradosh Kaal Muhurat is considered especially holy for Dhanteras Puja.
Lakshmi Puja on Dhanteras should be performed during Pradosh Kaal, which this year starts from 5:28pm and runs until 8:07pm on 13 November.
The Vrishabha Kaal is also ideal for Dhanteras Puja rituals. It begins at 5.32pm and ends at 7.28pm on 13 November.
Yama Deepam Sayan Sandhya is from 5:28pm to 5:59pm on the same day, when it is believed lighting a Deepak outside the home will please Lord Yama so he protects family members from any accidental death.
Why do people buy gold and silver on Dhanteras?
As Dhanteras is considered extremely auspicious, it is believed that making a purchase on the day brings good luck and health.
It is tradition for Hindus to buy gold or silver and new utensils, but some people even purchase households appliances and cars.
The common belief is that buying gold and silver items on Dhanteras, or anything made of precious metal, wards off bad omens and brings more wealth and prosperity.
When is Diwali 2020?
The Festival of Lights takes place each year between October and November at the conclusion of the harvest and to celebrate the new moon.
In 2020 the five-day celebrations run from November 13 to November 16.
How will celebrations be impacted in 2020?
Diwali celebrations across the country have either been cancelled or adapted due to the ongoing pandemic.
In Leicester, a traditional light switch on complete with music and dancing has been cancelled, though the lights themselves along the city’s golden mile will still be switched on.
In London, Diwali celebrations at Trafalgar Square have been swapped for a virtual celebration.