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Jainism Festivals

Jainism, a syncretistic religion of Hinduism and Buddhism is one of the oldest religions in the world which believes in the cyclical nature of the universe. Jains are always behind looking for love and pleasure, hatred and pain, and thereby freeing his/her vices from the karmas obscuring love, knowledge, perception, truth and ability. This is called as Jina.

Jainism is also a syncretistic religion which contains many elements similar to both Hinduism and Buddhism.

Pratyushan Parva

This Jain festival is celebrated by both the Svetamber and the Digambar sects in the month of August to September. The Svetambar jains star observing it in the dark half of the month from the 13th day upto the fifth day of the bright half for eight days. But the Digambar Jains begin to observe it from the fifth day of the bright half of bhadra and terminate it after eight days on the 13th lunar day. This festival signifies a man's emergence into a new world of spiritual and moral refinement from that of gross and depraved world. During the days of celebration, the devout Jains keep fast eat only once a day, worship the Tirthankaras, and try to imbibe the qualities and virtues of great Jain saints and preachers. This is also the occasion of self analysis and criticism and to do away with ones own shortcomings, etc.

Akshya tritiya

Akshya tritiya festival observed in the month of April or on the third day of the bright fortnight of Vaishakh on each year. The literature of this festival according to the Jains is that the first tirthankara Rsabhanatha on this particular day of Akshya tritiya with respect to his religious ritual and after his continuous fast of six months received sugar-cane juice from the Prince Sreyamskumar.Thus as a tribute to this, the festival of Akshya tritiya was celebrated every year. Mostly ladies take part in this festival where they are garlanded and are brought to the temple in procession, after which the relatives go to the nearby sugarcane crusher and clean the press with boiled water and collect the juice in earthen pots and offer it to the participants. This is then followed by the vow taking of the participants of never drinking water without boiling for the rest of the life.

Kartik Purnima

This falls on the full moon day of the month of November during which the monks and nuns of this particular community start moving from the place where they were staying all these days .They are taken in procession to next town or village where they are even accompanied by few other people and they start eating green vegetables from which they stayed away all these days or in the rainy season. During kartik purnima people start on pilgrimage to Palitana, the holy place. For those cannot afford this pilgrimage can visit any of the nearby temples which has the hanging of Palitana painting or a display on a stone wall.

Mahavir Jayanti

The birthday of Lord Mahavir, the Jain Teerthankar is observed by both the Digambara and Shwetambar Jains on the 13th day of the bright half of the Chaitra month. Mahavira was born most probably in the year 599 B.C. This is celebrated by the Jains and this is done by going to sacred sites and worshipping the Teerthankars. There are ancient shrines at Girnar and Palitana in Gujarat and people go there to worship on the auspicious day. Mahavira Jayanti is also celebrated at Parasnath temple which is located in Calcutta. This festival is celebrated with great style and fervor in Rajasthan and Gujarat where the Jains are relatively in great number. On this auspicious day, grand chariot processions with the images of Mahavir are taken out, rich ceremonies in the temple are held and fast and charities are observed. On this day the Jain scriptures are devotedly read and in some places grand fairs are also set up.

Diwali

Diwali is the day of 'Nirvana' of Lord Mahavira, the twenty-fourth Tirthankara in Pavapuri and they call it as Deva Diwali during which homes and temples are illuminated with lamps. It is also on this day Ganadhar Gautam, the first disciple of Mahavira Swami, attained complete knowledge. The Jains celebrate the diwali during the month of Kartik for three days during which they observe fasting and chant the Uttaradhyayan Sutra which contain the final pravachans of Lord Mahavira and meditate upon him. Also pilgrimages are taken to the most sacred place, Mount Girnar in Gujarat where different kinds of celebrations are held. History says that the first reference to Diwali is made in the Jain Scripture by Acharya Jinasena which hints diwali is jains oriented festival which later was adopted by Hindus.

Paush dashami

Paush dashami is celebrated as the birthday of 23rd JainTirthankar lord Parshvanath which according to Hindu calendar falls on the 10th day of Posh month. On this particular day men and women meditate, perform tapasya where they fast continuously for three days to attain spiritual guidance. At Sankheswar which is the sacred place of jains a mega fair is conducted during which major gathering of the Jains takes place and perform the austerity of 'Attham'.

Related Links


• Akshaya Tritiya In Articles

• Life After Death In Jainism