The First Day of Diwali
Dhanteras is also known as Dhantrayodashi, and takes place two days before Diwali.On Dhanteras, the "Owl" form of Goddess Laxmi is worshiped to provide prosperity and well being.
Houses and business are renovated and decorated. Entrances are made more colorful with lovely traditional rangoli designs to welcome the goddess of wealth. To indicate her long waited arrival, small footprints are drawn with rice flour and vermilion powder all over the houses. Lamps are kept burning all through the nights.
Traditions and Celebrations
On this day women purchase some gold or silver or at least one or two new utensils. It is believed that new “Dhan” or some form of precious metal is a sign of good luck. Pooja is performed in the evenings when tiny diyas of clay are lighted to drive away the shadows of evil spirits. "Bhajans" and devotional songs are sung in praise of Goddess Lakshmi.
The legend of the Samudramanthan is at the heart of these celebrations.
A number of years passed. Indra's teacher Brihaspati thought of finding a way out for Indra troubles. Mandara Mountain was a churning rod and Vasuki, the king of the serpents, using as a rope.
First, Kalakuta, a dreadful poison was produced which Lord Shiva drank much to the relief of the gods and demons.
After that a goddess with heavenly looks came into view. She was standing on a fully blossomed lotus. Wearing a lotus garland in the neck, she was holding a lotus in her hand. She was attractive and was radiantly smiling, she was Goddess Lakshmi(Maa Lakshmi).
The gods and demons continued to churn the ocean for Amrut or nectar, Finally Dhanavantri emerged carrying a jar of the ambrosia(amrit). Both are the wanted the ambrosia, but finally Vishnu managed to give the immortal nectar to the gods and the asuras where defeated.
Thus the churning of the ocean resulted in the immortality of the devas and was the reason for Lakshmi's emergence.