The first day of the festival is known as Dhan teras or Dhantrayodashi. Dhan means "wealth" and Trayodashi means "13th day". Thus, as the name implies, this day falls on the 13th day of the first half of the lunar month. On this day, it is believed that Lord Dhanvantari emerged from the waters of the ocean holding the knowledge of the spiritual medicines of Ayurveda, to help mankind fight against sickness, disease and death.
On this day people purchase valuables, light lamps using oil-filled clay cups and worship the Goddess of Wealth. They also worship Yama, the Lord of Death, seeking protection against untimely death. Parents and elders accompany children to the market looking for firecrackers and sweets, if they have not bought some already. Those who have brought them home spread the crackers in the sunlight and allow them to dry, so that when the time comes they perform well.
In certain parts of the country especially Maharashtra, People also consume a mixture made from crushed "Neem" leaves, Jaggery and Corriander seeds as it provides protection from diseases.
All text of this article available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).