Diwali is a five-day long festival and starts with Dhanteras. The word Dhanteras translates to mean wealth and prosperity. It falls during the month of Ashwin and is celebrated on the 13th day, according to the Hindu lunar calendar. Dhanteras 2017 has fallen on October 17.
On this day, people purchase gold and utensils along with new clothes. Goddess Lakshmi, who is regarded as the goddess of wealth, is welcomed into homes and people light diyas in their homes to celebrate this day. It is believed that worshipping her will bring wealth and good fortune in the house. Lord Kuber, the God of treasure, is also worshipped today by many. People purchase gold or silver jewellery, utensils and new clothes on this day.
The legend of Dhanteras
The story of Dhanteras revolves around the son of King Hima, whose horoscope predicted that he would die of a snake-bite on the fourth day of his marriage. To counter the prediction, his wife did not let him sleep all day and laid out her ornaments in a basket and kept them near the door with lit lamps. She kept on singing so her husband wouldn’t sleep. When on the next day, Yama, the God of Death, came in the form of a serpent to bite the prince, he was dazzled by all the light. He could not enter the house and left the man alone. His wife’s cleverness saved him and that is why the day is celebrated and people buy gold on it.
So, why should people buy gold and utensils?
Much like King Hima’s wife displayed an array of gold with lamps to ‘blind’ Yama, it is believed that a symbolic buying of gold, silver, jewellery and utensils will act as protection against ill will and is auspicious, bringing good luck to every member of the family. People also wear buy new clothes – which are then worn on the occasion of Diwali. They also worship Goddess Lakshmi, and many diyas are lit around the house so as to drive away the dark shadows of evil. Pujas also consist of paath, arati and singing bhajans.
Things to keep in mind while buying gold jewellery
It’s great to buy jewellery on an auspicious day, but it’s important to make sure you get the right deal as well.
1. Check for Hallmark: Analyse the quality of the metal before investing in it, so that there’s no regret later. Try and go for gold jewellery with Hallmark. This certification helps authenticate the purity of the metal. It is the standard mark is seen in most gold. A hallmark mentions the jeweller’s identification mark, year of hallmarking, karat and the stamp of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
While many jewellery brands often mention ‘Karat’ in their advertisements, a lot of people don’t know what it actually means. Karat denotes the measure of gold’s purity. For example, 24 carat or 24K contains 100 per cent gold content. Since an ornament with 24K gold would mean pure gold, it is more expensive than 22K or 18K gold. Also note that gold is a soft metal and a pure gold jewellery will be more malleable because of its low density.
The BIS stamp is a certificate that assures the jewellery is made in accordance with the standards laid by the bureau, which is the national standards organisation of India. It also contains the hallmarking year of the jewellery. In addition to this, jewellers also carry their personal hallmark that includes the purity of the metal and the year of making.
2. Stay away from stone-studded jewellery: If you’re buying gold mainly as an investment, then keep away from from those studded with stones, especially semi-precious ones. Though they may look much more attractive, remember that while buying, the stone is weighed along with the gold, so the ornament is priced accordingly. This weight is subtracted if you intend to sell the piece later. Stone jewellery also entails higher making charges.
3. Check for buy-back offers: Many jewellers have buy-back offers, wherein if you sell your jewellery back to the same store, then they will take the weight of the piece when bought into consideration, giving you a much better valuation of your ornament instead of going to another jeweller, who will first check the purity of the piece (here the Hallmarking helps, though) and deduct making charges as well.
Dhanteras is a big festival for Hindus and they celebrate it with grandeur. Offices and places of business are adorned with decorations, all set to welcome good fortune.