Mahavir Jayanti, also known as Mahaveer Janma Kalyanak, is a religious festival of the Jains. The day is considered auspicious because it is believed that the founder of Jainism and last Tirthankara, Mahaveer was born on this day in the year 599 BCE (Chaitra Sud 13). The date of Mahavir Jayanti changes every year and it is usually celebrated on the 13th day of the month of Chaitra as per the Hindu calendar. This year, Mahavir Jayanti is being celebrated on April 17.
The day is celebrated by the Jain followers all over the world and is considered a good day to perform charity and pray to the almighty for blessing them with a life devoid of violence.
According to the legends, Lord Mahavir was born to King Siddhartha and Queen Trisala in Kundagram, which is known today as Kundalpur from the Champaran district of Bihar. He was named as Vardhamana upon his birth. The name means ‘one who grows’ because it is believed the kingdom witnessed more prosperity and happiness upon Mahavir’s birth.
The day is celebrated by ceremonially anointing the statue of Mahavir that begins with ‘abhisheka‘. The idol is carried out on a chariot and the procession includes a constant recital of the stavans, better known as bhajans or religious rhymes, to remember and thank Mahavir for guiding the path of his followers. The followers keep their whole day busy by sharing various ideas and values preached by Mahavir. Lectures are held in temples about the path of virtue as defined in Jainism. Many popular Jain temples see the presence of the followers in hundreds and thousands.
Jainism instructs the intake of satvik food, that means meals without the inclusion of onion and garlic. Therefore, the followers make sure their food on Mahavir Jayanti is fresh and free from the impurities of man-made food items.