This page narrates the legend of Dhanteras which is also known as legend of Dhantrayodashi. These legends are traditional stories which provide background of celebrating the festival of Dhanteras during Diwali festivities. These legends are passed through generation after generation and often mentioned in Hindu religious texts.
Many people keep a day long fast on the day of Dhantrayodashi. The day long fast is broken after doing Lakshmi-Kubera Puja in the evening. Hence, this Dhanteras story is also known as Dhanteras Vrat Katha.
Once, Goddess Lakshmi insisted Lord Vishnu to accompany Him during one of His visits to the earth. Lord Vishnu agreed but on the condition that She would not fall for earthly temptations and would not look in the south direction. Goddess Lakshmi agreed to this condition of Lord Vishnu.
However during their visit to the earth, due to Her Chanchal (चञ्चल) nature Goddess Lakshmi got tempted to look in the south direction. When Goddess Lakshmi was not able to resist her urge to look in the south direction, She broke her pledge and started moving towards south. As soon as Goddess Lakshmi started moving in southern direction, She was mesmerized with the beauty of yellow mustard flowers and sugarcane fields on the earth. Finally, the Goddess Lakshmi fell for the earthly temptations and decorated herself with the mustard flowers and started enjoying sugarcane juice.
When Lord Vishnu saw that Goddess Lakshmi has broken her pledge, He got annoyed and asked Her to spend the next twelve years on the earth as a penance, serving at the field of the poor farmer who has cultivated mustard and sugarcane in the field.
With the arrival of Goddess Lakshmi, the poor farmer became prosperous and wealthy overnight. Gradually, twelve years passed and the time for Goddess Lakshmi to return back to Vaikuntha had come. When Lord Vishnu came to the earth in disguise of an ordinary man to take Goddess Lakshmi back, the farmer refused to relieve Goddess Lakshmi from his services.
When all attempts to by Lord Vishnu failed and the farmer didn't agree to relieve Goddess Lakshmi from his services, Goddess Lakshmi revealed her true identity to the farmer and told him that She could not stay any longer on the earth and need to go back to Vaikuntha. However, Goddess Lakshmi promised the farmer that She would visit him every year during the night of Krishna Trayodashi before Diwali.
As the legend goes, the farmer started cleaning his home every year to welcome Goddess Lakshmi on the day of Krishna Trayodashi before Diwali. He also started lighting an earthen lamp full of Ghee throughout the night to welcome Goddess Lakshmi. These rituals to appease Goddess Lakshmi made the farmer rich and prosperous year after year.
People who came to know about this incident also started worshipping Goddess Lakshmi on the night of Krishna Trayodashi before Diwali. This is how devotees started worshipping Goddess Lakshmi along with Lord Kubera on the day of Dhanteras which is also known as Dhantrayodashi.