Today, November 13th 2012, marks the beginning of the 5 days of Diwali. The first day of the Diwali is known as Dhanteras or Dhantrayodashi, which falls on the 13th day of the month Ashvin according to the Hindu calendar. The name comes from the root word Dhan or Wealth. Dhanteras is known as an opportune day for Hindus as they celebrate by buying precious metals such as gold or silver for good luck in the coming year. It is not surprising then that today is the day Hindus worship the revered Lakshmi, Goddess of Wealth. For many Hindu businesses today marks the beginning of the new fiscal year.
Many worship this day through Lakshmi Puja, which is a Hindu tradition of placing lighted clay pots outside their homes in hopes that she may pay their home a visit and bless them with prosperity in the coming year. These lamps are left burning on doorsteps throughout the night in order to light her path. It is believed that Lakshmi only visits homes that are clean and to those who are hard-working and deserving of acquiring and preserving wealth. She does not visit the lazy or those that keep their homes uncleanly.
Worship with Hindus across the globe in worshipping Lakshmi by placing a small lamp upon your doorstep with offerings of saffron paste, flowers, sweets, fruits, and/or rice. Today is a day for peaceful worship and offering upon the beautiful Goddess Lakshmi.
It is also believed that today, an incarnation of Vishnu known as Dhanvantari, was born. Vishnu as Dhanvantari is known as the physician of the Gods. So in addition to Lakshmi, pay special devotion to Vishnu as Dhanvantari by paying homage to his birth.