In India, different religions believe in different occasions and festivals to make investments and start afresh. Hindus consider occasions like Akshay Tritiya, Dussehra and Diwali as the best time to take a step ahead towards building their wealth.
The festival of Diwali is spread over five days from Dhanteras to Bhaiduj. The first day of Diwali, Dhanteras (“Dhan” meaning wealth and “Teras” meaning the “thirteenth day”) falls two days before Diwali and marks the day to make new purchases and investments. This day is considered to bring good luck and prosperity to the family. Hindus perform the Lakshmi Pooja, offering prayers and welcoming Goddess Lakshmi.
Investments during Dhanteras: The popular belief is that any investment made on this day will grow and multiply throughout the year. It is the day chosen by most people to make investments in gold, silver, platinum or any other metal. Regularly investing in precious metals, every year during this special day also helps you in growing and accumulating wealth over a long period. Off late, stepping aside from the traditional definition of investing in physical metal, it is seen that many investors also invest in gold ETFs, which is akin to investing in physical gold.
Apart from investing in gold and silver, people also wait for this auspicious period to make big ticket purchases like purchasing a new vehicle and buying a new home. Women buy utensils, gold and silver idols of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi, coins and lamps on Dhanteras day. People also believe in moving into their new home or taking delivery of their new car during this time.
It is not just the local markets which become alive with hordes of people flocking to make their purchases. Diwali marks an auspicious period even for the stock markets. Equity markets are kept open for a small window of time during Diwali day, usually in the evening, for the traditional “Muhurat” trading, wherein the traders welcome the New Year with a positive note. Investors place token orders during this trading session, buying stocks which are sometimes retained for a very long time. The “Muhurat” trading session is believed to bring in wealth and prosperity throughout the year, to whoever makes investments. The stock markets thus invariably go up a few points during this session, even if the general market scenario is bearish.
Diwali Rituals: There are a number of rituals associated with Diwali. Houses and offices are cleaned and decorated. Rangoli and colourful traditional motifs are drawn to adorn doorways. Goddess Lakshmi is welcomed by drawing miniature footprints with rice flour and kumkum (vermillon powder). Lamps are lit and placed throughout the house with the belief to dispel evil forces. The most important ritual during Diwali is the Lakshmi Pooja.
Lakshmi Pooja: Mahalakshmi (“Maha” meaning big and “Lakshmi” derived from the Sanskrit word Lakshya meaning aim or focus) is the Goddess of Wealth and a special pooja is conducted on Dhanteras and Diwali days. Dusk is usually the time of Lakshmi Pooja. It is believed that the Goddess likes cleanliness and visits the cleanest house first. Thus the entire house is kept spotlessly clean and pure during Diwali. Some people also worship the broom with offerings of turmeric (haldi) and kumkum, as it is used for cleaning. In many households, the house is painted to give a fresh look.
For the pooja, a red cloth is spread on a raised platform with a handful of grains in the center. A kalash with water and five mango leaves is placed in the center. A small puja thali is placed on the kalash with a small mountain of rice grains. A lotus is drawn with haldi and the idol of Goddess Lakshmi is placed in the middle. Lord Ganesha’s idol with some rice grains, books and wealth related items are also placed near the idol of the Goddess. The diya is lit and the pooja is performed by offering flowers to the deities, applying tilak and by reciting the Diwali pooja mantra or reciting Goddess Lakhmi’s name. The idol of the Goddess is then bathed, cleaned and garlanded. Sweets and coconut are offered and the idol is worshipped by performing the Lakshmi pooja aarti.
In addition to worshipping Goddess Lakshmi, people also worship money, ornaments and other material possessions as a mark of showing gratitude to the Goddess for the wealth bestowed upon them.
Diwali also marks the beginning of a New Year in many states in India, especially for communities in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Every family and business house performs the muhurat puja and worship their books of accounts.
Though Diwali and Dussehra are Hindu festivals, associated with Hindu Gods, the period is revered and considered auspicious by many spiritual people of other religions as well, who regularly invest to build wealth and make a fresh beginning. So go ahead and welcome the festivity by planning and making investments!
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