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Mahavir Jayanti - Birthday of Lord Mahavir

Mahavir Jayanti falls on 16th April in 2011. Mahavir Jayanti is the biggest festival of Jains. Mahavir Jayanti marks the birth anniversary of Lord Mahavir. This festival is celebrated in India and throughout the world by the Jain communities. Read on to find more about the celebration and significance of Mahavir Jayanti.

Mahavir Jayanti is the biggest Jain festival and is celebrated in India and all over the world to commemorate the birthday of Lord Mahavir. It comes in the month of Chaitra, a month from Hindu calendar.

Significance of Mahavir Jayanti

It is a belief that Lord Mahavir was the son of Siddhartha and Trisala. According to the legend, Mahavir was conceived by a Brahmin Rishabhdeva's wife and God transferred the embryo to the womb of Trisala. She had some typical dreams during the time of pregnancy and they are considered auspicious dreams.

However, the astrologers at that time interpreted the dreams and predicted that the child will become an emperor or the 24th Tirthankar, which Mahavir became ultimately. There is one more amazing story behind the birth of Mahavir. Trisala had a painless childbirth. Even as a child, Mahavir is said to be very fearless and that is why he got the name of 'Mahavir'.

Celebration of Mahavir Jayanti

Read on to know how Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated.

Celebration in Gujarat and Rajasthan

Mahavir Jayanti has great significance in Gujarat and Rajasthan and is celebrated with great enthusiasm there. Mahavir Jayanti is also celebrated at Pawapuri in Bihar and Parasnath temple in Calcutta. In most places the festival lasts for one day. You can see the unity among the Jain people that day as they look like a huge and happy family.

Fasting on The Day of Mahavir Jayanti

Jain people keep the whole day fast and some of the devotees prefer a waterless fast instead. Many people visit sacred places and some even go on pilgrimage to celebrate that auspicious day. People pray for the health and wealth of themselves and their families. A procession is also taken on street at most places and lot of crowd following could be seen.

Significance of 24 Tirthankars

Jainism is one of the most major religions followed by people all over the world. They believe that 24 Tirthankars arrived in the world to convey the meaning of peace and forbearance to the people of this world. The preaching of these Tirthankars show the way to spiritual liberation and helps people come out of the darkness that is created around them due to the extreme attachment they have to the physical world. Mahavir was the last one among these Tirthankars and hence celebration of mahavir jayanti takes place every year.

Worshipping Lord Mahavir

In every part of the world where people of Jain community is present, Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated with great devotion and commitment. The Jain temples are decorated with flags and flowers and in the morning the idol of Lord Mahavir is given a ceremonial bath in every temple. After this the idol is placed on a cradle and then a procession is taken out. Many devotees take part and roam about with the grand procession and devotees offer milk, fruits, rice, lamps, incense and water.

Spreading the Preaching of Lord Mahavir

Many places people share the preaching of Lord Mahavir and let more and more people know about them. Jains are expected to give four types of donations that day - donation of knowledge, which means sharing what they know for the betterment of the people and community, protecting people from bad deeds and giving medicines, food and alms to poor. People read out excerpts from the life history of Lord Mahavir. Usually the day is celebrated with silent prayers and worship. There is no pomp and show and even the procession that is carried out is in silence. Many Jain religious leaders spend this day in solitude and meditating. On the whole, Mahavir Jayanti is observed with great somberness.

When does Mahavir Jayanti fall in the year 2011? How is Mahavir Jayanti celebrated by Jains? How to keep fast on the occasion of Mahavir Jayanti? To share your views and experiences, click here.

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