|Observed by||Hindus and Jains|
|Observances||prayers, distribution of sugarcane juice and festive foods|
|Date||late April-early May|
|2017 date||28 April |
|2018 date||Wed 18 April|
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, as signifying the "third day of unending prosperity". 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.
In Sanskrit, the word "Akshaya" (अक्षय) means "imperishable, eternal, the never diminishing" in the sense of "prosperity, hope, joy, success", while Tritiya means "third". It is named after the "third lunar day" of the spring month of Vaisakha in the Hindu calendar, the day it is observed.
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. Those who observe it in the honor of Parasurama sometimes refer to the festival as Parasurama Jayanti. Alternatively, some focus their reverence to Vasudeva avatar of Vishnu. 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.
In Jainism, it commemorates the first Tirthankara's (Rishabhanatha) ending his one-year asceticism by consuming sugarcane juice poured into his cupped hands. Some Jains refer to the festival as Varshi Tapa. Fasting and ascetic austerities are marked by Jains, particularly at pilgrimage sites such as Palitana (Gujarat).
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. 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. If the Akshaya Tritiya falls on a Monday (Rohini), the festival is believed to be even more auspicious. Fasting, charity and helping others on this day is another festive practice.
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