Gold is not just a metal for an Indian, it is a symbol of prosperity and basis of wealth irrespective of social and economic class. Experts have often said that the gold possessed by Indian families are more than what is there in the reserves of the entire United States and Europe.
Dhanteras, which is the first day of the five day Diwali festival, has a tradition of buying gold, silver or any other household utensils which is considered as a bringer of good luck and peosperity for the family or business. The word Dhanteras comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Dhan’ meaning wealth, and ‘teras’ meaning 13th day as per the Hindu calender.
The legend behind the significance of buying gold on this day revolves around the story of 16 year old son of king Hima and his newly wed wife wherein the son of King Hima was destined to die on the fourth day of marriage due to a snake bite as per a prophecy based on his horoscope. The newly wedded wife advised her husband to stay awake for the night. She is then believed to have made heaps of gold and silver coins at the entrance of the sleeping chamber and sang songs and narrated stories the whole night.
On the eventual night when Lord Yama arrived disguised as a snake his eyes were dazzled by the blinding light reflected by the heaps of gold and silver. Unable to enter the sleeping chamber, Yama climbed over the heap and stayed there the whole night listening to the stories and songs sung by wife of Hima’s son and left silently the next morning without taking the king.
Ever since then the buying of gold, silver and other kinds of ornaments have gained moral and spiritual significance in order to keep out dark and evil forces to cast a bad eye on the household.