Mahavir Jayanti is one of the most auspicious religious festivals for the Jain Community. This day marks the birth anniversary of Lord Mahavir, the 24th and last Tirthankara of Jainism. This year, Mahavir Jayanti will be celebrated on April 6 and people will observe peace, harmony and spread the teachings of Lord Mahavir.
Born on the 13th day of the waxing moon of Chaitra month according to the Hindu calendar, Lord Mahavir was born to King Siddhartha and Queen Trishala in Bihar. When he turned 30 years old, the lord renounced his crown. He spent twelve years in exile, away from materialistic things and worldly pleasures. Lord Mahavir was also called as Sage Vardhman.
Lord Mahavir led a simple and extremely ascetic life, in which he practiced meditation. Because of his courage and praiseworthy actions, the lord earned the name Mahavir. He devoted his whole life to preaching the truth about spiritual freedom to his followers and the world. Moreover, he taught them the importance and practice of non-violence. He also introduced the concept of salvation to them. Therefore, Mahavir Jayanti marks the birth anniversary of Lord Mahavir.
Every year, Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated to commemorate Lord Mahavir’s preachings and Jain philosophy. On this day, people of the Jain community offer prayers and respect to the lord by visiting temples. Devotees also adorn them with fresh flowers and flags for the Mahavir Jayanti celebration. Idols of Lord Mahavir are applied with ceremonial anointment, called as Abhisheka.
Later on, as a part of the religious processions, those idols are carried on a chariot, which is also called as rath yatra. Meanwhile, devotees hum rhymes praising their lord on the way. They also engage in charitable words and distributions this day. People offer food to the poor and the needy.
Jainism emphasises on world peace. They believe in harmony so that no harm is caused to any living beings. Therefore, on Mahavir Jayanti, donations are also made as a contribution to save animals from being slaughtered, besides helping the needy and the poor.