Dhanteras is celebrated on the thirteenth lunar day of Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) in the Vikram Samvat Hindu calendar month of Karthik. Dhanvantari, who is also worshiped on the occasion of Dhanteras, is the god of Ayurveda who imparted the wisdom of Ayurveda for the betterment of mankind and to help rid it of the suffering of disease.
The Indian ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy, announced its decision to observe Dhanteras, as the “National Ayurveda Day” which was first observed on 28 October 2016.
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Story of Dhanteras
Four days hence his marriage, his newly wedded wife, being aware of this prediction laid out all her ornaments along with coins made of precious metals of gold and silver in a heap at the entrance of her husband’s sleeping chamber and furbished the whole place with lamps.
Then, all night long she narrated stories and sang songs to keep her husband from falling asleep. It is believed, that when Yama, the God of death, arrived under the guise of a snake, he found himself unable to enter the prince’s chamber as he was dazzled and blinded by the light of the lamps and jewellery, and so he climbed the heap of ornaments and coins and listened to the melodious songs of the wife.
In the morning, he quietly went away sparing the life of the prince. In this manner, the young wife saved her husband from the clasp of death itself. Hence, this day also came to be known as ‘Yamadeepdaan’.
Another popular legend also associates itself with this festival. It believes in the appearance of Dhanvantari (physician of the Gods and an incarnation of Vishnu), with a jar of elixir on the day of Dhanteras during the cosmic battle fought between the gods and demons, who had churned the ocean for Amrita or nectar.