Akshaya Tritiya

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Akshaya Tritiya
Observed by Hindus and Jains
Type Hindu, Jain
Celebrations 1 day
Observances prayers, distribution of sugarcane juice and festive foods
Begins Vaisakha
Date late April-early May
2017 date 28 April[1] [2]
2018 date Wed 18 April
Frequency annual

Akshaya Tritiya, also known as Akti or Akha Teej, is annual spring time festival of the Hindus and Jains. It falls on the third Tithi (lunar day) of Bright Half (Shukla Paksha) of Vaisakha month. It is observed regionally by Hindus and Jains in India and Nepal,[3][4] as signifying the "third day of unending prosperity".[5] The festival date varies and is set according to the lunisolar Hindu calendar, and falls in April or May of every year in the Gregorian calendar.[6]

Description[edit]

In Sanskrit, the word "Akshaya" (अक्षय) means "imperishable, eternal, the never diminishing" in the sense of "prosperity, hope, joy, success", while Tritiya means "third".[7][5] It is named after the "third lunar day" of the spring month of Vaisakha in the Hindu calendar, the day it is observed.[6]

Akshaya Tritiya is believed in Hinduism to be the birthday of Parasurama who is the sixth incarnation of Vishnu, and he is revered in Vaishnava temples.[8] Those who observe it in the honor of Parasurama sometimes refer to the festival as Parasurama Jayanti.[9] Alternatively, some focus their reverence to Vasudeva avatar of Vishnu.[6] According to one mythology, Ved Vyasa began reciting the Hindu epic Mahabharata to Ganesha on Akshaya Tritiya. Another legend states that river Ganges descended to earth on this day.[9]

In Jainism, it commemorates the first Tirthankara's (Rishabhanatha) ending his one-year asceticism by consuming sugarcane juice poured into his cupped hands.[5] Some Jains refer to the festival as Varshi Tapa.[9] Fasting and ascetic austerities are marked by Jains, particularly at pilgrimage sites such as Palitana (Gujarat).[9]

The day is considered auspicious by Hindus and Jains in many regions of India for new ventures, marriages, expensive investments such as in gold or other property, and any new beginnings. It is also a day of remembrance for the loved ones who have died.[8] The day is regionally significant for women, married or unmarried, who pray for the well being of the men in their lives or the one they may in future get engaged to. After prayers, they distribute germinating gram (sprouts), fresh fruits and Indian sweets.[8][6] If the Akshaya Tritiya falls on a Monday (Rohini), the festival is believed to be even more auspicious.[6] Fasting, charity and helping others on this day is another festive practice.[9]

King Shreyans offering sugarcane juice to Rishabhanatha

In Odisha, it is the day when Hindus begin their annual construction of chariots for the Puri Rath Yatra festivities.[6]

On this day people who observe the year-long alternative day fasting known as Varshi-tap finish their Tapasya by doing parana by drinking sugarcane juice.[10][11][12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.drikpanchang.com/festivals/akshaya-tritiya/akshaya-tritiya-date-time.html
  2. ^ http://www.mypanchang.com/calformat.php?cityname=Ahemadabad-Gujarat&yr=2017&mn=4&monthtype=0
  3. ^ Gupte 1994, p. 5
  4. ^ Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam, ed. India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 65. 
  5. ^ a b c P. M. Joseph (1997). Jainism in South India. International School of Dravidian Linguistics. pp. 135–136. ISBN 978-81-85692-23-4. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f K V Singh (2015). Hindu Rites and Rituals: Origins and Meanings. Penguin. pp. 39–40. ISBN 978-93-85890-04-8. 
  7. ^ A.A. Macdonell, Akshaya, A Practical Sanskrit Dictionary
  8. ^ a b c B. A. Gupte (1994). Hindu Holidays and Ceremonials: With Dissertations on Origin, Folklore and Symbols. Asian Educational Services. pp. 5–6. ISBN 978-81-206-0953-2. 
  9. ^ a b c d e J. Gordon Melton (2011). Religious Celebrations: An Encyclopedia of Holidays, Festivals, Solemn Observances, and Spiritual Commemorations. ABC-CLIO. pp. 18–20. ISBN 978-1-59884-206-7. 
  10. ^ "Hindus and Jains celebrate Akshaya Tritiya for their own reasons". Merinews. Retrieved May 13, 2013. 
  11. ^ "It's Akshaya Tritiya today". DNAIndia. Retrieved May 13, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Akshaya Tritiya Significance". TourismOnlineIn. Retrieved April 21, 2016. 

Bibliography[edit]