Dhanteras is the part and parcel of the festival of the Diwali. The Dhanteras was first observed during the time of Ramayana. Dhanteras has been the festival of India for thousands of years. The festival is supposed to be followed from the time of the first epic of the world, the Ramayana.
Rama was the Prince of Ayodhya, who was sentenced for a fourteen year stay at the first with his brother and wife. A demonic king Ravana snatched Sita and Rama attacked him, as he refused to give Sita back after so many pleads. There a fierce war was carried out to ultimately regain Sita from Lanka, the kingdom of Ravana.
The Dhanteras festival is the merry of the people of Ayodhya when Rama, their beloved king came back to their city with his family. They lightened their houses and the roads with lights and garlands to make their merry a reason. Finally this festival continued in India as one of the biggest festivals, from that time. This also included the exchange of metals.
Metal Exchange – Dhanteras
The final event of the festival is to distribute the metals in the family as a symbol of plentifulness. The reason for this mentality is that they had been in a period of black years when Rama and his family were in the exile. Now when they came back, they also found the rhythm of their life comes back and this comeback is denoted by the exchange of metals among the families by wishing prosperity for all. This part of the festival is known as the Dhanteras.
Thus started the exchange of materials in India of that time, but this was not any exchange of the metals for the purpose of the business and was only the exchange of love and good wishes to each other. Sharing the metals gradually developed to a concept of having a metal for the family and now the Indian families buy mostly gold and silver for their family only and worships that in front of goddess Laxmi to fix the prosperity for the next year.
There is several meaning for the exchange of each gifts and thus exchange of different metals are to express wishes for the family to excel in that category in the next year. Today people instead of getting metals gets the gold jewelries for the family and they instead of burning that in front of the goddess, wears them for the design and beauty, but originally the metal is to be burnt and melted in the fire in front of goddess to wish that in the life for the next year or for the rest of the life.
Thus Dhanteras and its practice has been changed by years. Now most of the people do not know the meaning of Dhanteras even and they do not know the symbols of the metals which are used for the Dhanteras. if they would have known the details, they would have bought bronze or zinc for the purpose as gold is to get a good cultivation in the next year only.