Why Does Diwali Begin With Dhanteras?

Why Does Diwali Begin With Dhanteras?

While we all may be familiar with Diwali's customs, some of us may not know how many of them came to be. Today, we wanted to cover why Diwali begins with Dhanteras.

Once upon a time, Indra, the King of Gods, really angered a sage by disrespecting the garland he had gifted to Indra. The sage put a curse on Indra that he and the other gods would lose all their powers, strength, energy and fortune.

In the battle that soon followed, Indra and the other gods began losing against the demons, as they took control of the universe.  

So Indra went to Lord Vishnu for help, who advised him to forge allies with the demons, because he was going to need all the manpower possible for what he was about to recommend next...

(1) Churn the ocean for the nectar of immortality.
(2) Consume the nectar to regain their power.

The plan was in place:

a huge mountain was used as the pole, and a gigantic snake was used as the rope. With the gods on one side, and the demons on the other, they began to churn baby churn.

But instead of the nectar, they saw a pot of blue poison emerge from the ocean. The poison was so toxic that it could essentially wipe out the universe.

So they all began praying to Shiva -- the God of destruction, creation and preservation -- who came to their rescue by carefully holding the poison in his throat.

Now, with the poison out of the way, the gods and demons resumed their churning. They were able to retrieve a total of 14 valuables, including the nectar.

Any guesses who was emerged from the ocean carrying the nectar of immortality?

Dhanavantri, the Hindu god of medicine and ayurveda, and an avatar of Lord Vishnu.

Dhanteras, which kicks off the five-day long festivities surrounding Diwali, is in essence a worship to the the god of health.