Jain Festivals


While Paryushan Parva, Mahavir Jayanti, Navapad Oli and Diwali are some of the Jain festivals celebrated on a grand scale, there are other festivals also which are celebrated with equal fervour and enthusiasm. Some of the festivals are:

Bhai Beej: Bhai Beej is a festival celebrated during Karthika Masa (Nov- Dec). This festival is something similar to Raksha Bandan. When Raja Nandivardhana, the brother of Lord Mahavir was distressed as his brother had attained Nirvana, his sister Sudarshana took him to her house and pacified him. (Diazepam) The day on which Sudarshana took her brother to her house was on Karthika Shukla (waxing) Dwethiya- second day, which is observed as Bhai Beej. On this day, the sister invites her brother to her house and felicitates him.

Jnan Panchami: Jnan Panchami is the day when the holy scriptures/knowledge is worshipped. This festival is observed on the fifth day of Karthika (Nov- Dec) Masa (Karthika Shukla (waxing) Panchami). During this festival, people observe fast, offer prayer to the Lord, meditate, recite verses from Holy Scriptures, and do Pratikarman.

Ashada Chaturdashi: Ashada Chaturdashi is the commencement of the Chaturmasa for the Jain Sadhus and Sadhwis. This festival is observed on Ashada Shukla Chaturdashi or the fourteenth day of Ashada, July. During the Chaturmasa the Sadhus and Sadhwis stay put in one place and observe austerities like giving religious discourses, tapasya etc. Strict food habits are adhered to during the Chaturmasa by the Jain Sadhus and Sadhwis.

Karthika Poornima: While the Ashada Chaturdashi is the day of commencement of Chaturmasa, it is on the Karthika Poornima day when the Chaturmasa ends. The Jain Sadhus and Sadhwis commence their Padayatra from one place to another. A pilgrimage to Shatrunjay- Palitana is undertaken by thousands of Jains on this day.

Maun Ekadashi: Maun Ekadashi is observed on the eleventh day of Margashira (Dec-Jan) Masa. This day is celebrated by observing total silence, meditation, fasting, worshipping gods, Paushad Vrat etc. Great events about the lives of one hundred and fifty Jineswaras are re-lived by means of holy recitation.

Paush Dashami: This day is also celebrated as the birthday of Bhagwan Parshwanath. On the tenth day of Paush Masa (Jan- Feb), several men and women undertake fasting without a break, for three days, also known as – Upavas Attham for spiritual welfare. Meditation and recitation of Shlokas from Scriptures also form part of the Attham. A fair at Sankheswar, (a famous pilgrim centre for Jains) is organised when people from various places throng to the fair and observe Attham.

Akshaya Trithiya: Akshaya Trithiya is celebrated on the third day- Vaishaka Shukla Trithiya. Bhagwan Rishabdev performed the Parana (completion of austerity) on this day after fasting for one year. This day is also considered auspicious for going on a pilgrimage to Shatrunjaya.