Why do people flock to purchase gold and silver on Dhanteras?

Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is just around the corner and preparations for the same are in full swing. The first day of the five-day Diwali celebrations is known as Dhanteras. The word is formed by combining ‘Dhan’ and ‘Teras’ – the former means ‘wealth’ with the latter standing for the 13th day of the Hindu calendar.

Dhanteras holds special significance for the purchase of gold and silver, as is evident with the huge surge in demand that is witnessed by jewelers year after year. In fact, jewelers have to work overtime during Dhanteras just to cater to the hordes of people coming in to buy the precious metals. It is also worth noting that, not only purchase of precious metals like gold and silver is considered auspicious, but purchase of any form of wealth is also viewed as auspicious and symbolic.

So, what exactly makes the first day of Diwali auspicious for gold purchase? There is an interesting story behind it.

The story pertains to 16-year-old King Hima and his newly-wedded wife. According to the prophecy, it was believed that the young king will die on the fourth day of his marriage. King Hima’s wife in order to prevent her husband’s death and keep him awake, decided to heap all her ornaments as well as gold and silver coins at the entrance of the sleeping chamber. That’s not all, she is also said to have sung songs and narrated stories in a bid to prevent him from falling asleep.

As expected, the God of Death, Yama, came for the soul of the young king. But, on his arrival he was blinded by the shine of the gold and silver, and as a result was unable to enter the chamber. He then climbed on top of the pile and sat there listening to the songs and stories sung by the queen. It is believed that after some time the God of Death left as he came, sparing the life of King Hima.

So there you have it! This is the reason that people people stack up on precious metals during Dhanteras, as it believed to ward of evil and keep death at bay. Gold has been an integral part of almost every Indian festival and is much more than an investment. Purchase of gold is auspicious not just on Dhanteras, but also on Gudi Padwa, Makar Sankranti, Akshaya Tritiya, Navratri and Dussehra.