Akshaya Tritiya

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Akshaya Tritiya
One Anna British-Indian coin.png
A one anna coin issued by the British-Indian government depicting Rishabhanatha, first Jain tirthankara, accepting sugarcane juice from King Shreyans
Observed byHindu, Jain
TypeHindu and Jain
Celebrations1 day
Observancesprayers, distribution of sugarcane juice and festive foods, buying gold
BeginsVaisakha
Datelate April-early May
2020 date26 April (Sun)[1] IST, 25 April (Sat) EDT
2021 date14 May (Fri)[2]
Frequencyannual

Akshaya Tritiya, also known as Akti or Akha Teej, is an annual spring time festival of the Hindus and Jains.[3] It falls on the third Tithi (lunar day) of Bright Half (Shukla Paksha) of Vaisakha month. It is observed as an auspicious time regionally by Hindus and Jains in India and Nepal,[4][5] as signifying the "third day of unending prosperity".[6] .

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.[7]

Krishna presents Draupadi with Akshaya Patra, on Akshaya Tritiya, during the exile of the Pandavas to the forest.

Meaning[edit]

In Sanskrit, the word "Akshayya" (अक्षय्य) means " never endingness " in the sense of "prosperity, hope, joy, success", while Tritiya means "third phase of the moon".[8][6] It is named after the "third lunar day" of the spring month of Vaisakha in the Hindu calendar, the day it is observed.[7]

Jain tradition[edit]

Rishabhdev, believed to have lived over a million years ago, is considered the founder of Jain philosophy in the present Avasarpini.

In Jainism, it commemorates the first Tirthankara's (Rishabhdev) ending his one-year asceticism by consuming sugarcane juice poured into his cupped hands.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]

King Shreyans offering sugarcane juice to Rishabhanatha

Hindu tradition[edit]

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.[10] 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.[10][7] If the Akshaya Tritiya falls on a Monday (Rohini), the festival is believed to be even more auspicious.[7] Fasting, charity and helping others on this day is another festive practice.[9]

Sudama Temple, and Sandipani Shri Hari Mandir in Porbandar.[11]

Very important, and as related to the name of the festival itself is the presenting of Akshaya Patra, to Draupadi, by God Krishna, during the visit of sage Durvasa. During their exile in the forests, the princely Pandavas were famished for the lack of food and their wife Draupadi pained by the lack of food for customary hospitality to their numerous saintly guests. Yudishtira, who was the eldest, did penance to Lord Surya who gave him this bowl which would remain full till Draupadi had her meals. During sage Durvasa's visit, God Krishna made this bowl invincible, for Draupadi, the wife of the five Pandavas, so that the magical bowl called Akshaya Patram, would always remain full with food of their choice, even as to satiate the whole universe, if required.[12]

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.[10] Those who observe it in the honor of Parasurama sometimes refer to the festival as Parasurama Jayanti.[9] Alternatively, some focus their reverence to Vāsudeva avatar of Vishnu.[7]

According to one legend, 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]Very significantly the Yamunotri Temple and Gangotri Temple are opened on the auspicious occasion of Akshaya Tritiya, during the Chota Char Dham pilgrimage, after closing down, during the heavy snowfall laden winters of the Himalayan regions. The temples are opened on Abhijit Muhurat of Akshaya Tritya.[13]

Yamunotri Temple and Gangotri Temple are opened on the auspicious occasion of Akshaya Tritiya.

Another significant event that is believed to have occurred on this day is that Sudama visited his childhood friend, Lord Krishna in Dwarka, and received unlimited wealth.

Also, it is believed that Kubera received his wealth and position as the 'Lord of Wealth' on this auspicious day.[14][15]

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.[16]

In Odisha, Akshyay Tritiya is celebrated for commencement of sowing of paddy for the ensuing Kharif season. The day starts with ritual worship of mother Earth, the bullocks, other traditional farm equipment and seeds by the farmers for blessings of a good harvest. After ploughing in the fields, sowing of paddy seeds are done as symbolic start for the most important Kharif crop of the state. This ritual is called Akhi Muthi Anukula ( Akhi - Akshyay Tritiya ; Muthi - fistful of paddy; Anukula - commencement or inauguration) and is celebrated with much fanfare throughout the state. In recent years the event has received much publicity due to ceremonial Akhi Muthi Anukula programs organized by farmers organizations and political parties. The construction of chariots for the Ratha Yatra festivities of Jagannath Temple also commences from this day at Puri.[7][17][18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.drikpanchang.com/festivals/akshaya-tritiya/akshaya-tritiya-date-time.html?year=2020
  2. ^ https://www.drikpanchang.com/festivals/akshaya-tritiya/akshaya-tritiya-date-time.html?year=2021
  3. ^ "Akshaya Tritiya 2017: Here is Why it is of significance in Hinduism and reason behind people buying Gold on this day!". NewsGram. 28 April 2017.
  4. ^ Gupte 1994, p. 5
  5. ^ Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam (ed.). India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 65.
  6. ^ a b P. M. Joseph (1997). Jainism in South India. International School of Dravidian Linguistics. pp. 135–136. ISBN 978-81-85692-23-4.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ A.A. Macdonell, Akshaya, A Practical Sanskrit Dictionary
  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. ^ 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.
  11. ^ Sudama Temple in Porbandar[1][2]
  12. ^ Descent of Ganges from heaven and Akshaya Patra
  13. ^ Gangotri and Yamunotri temples open on Akshay Tritiya[3][4][5]Abhijit Muhurat[6][7]
  14. ^ "Akshay Tritiya". Ganesha Speaks.
  15. ^ "Significance of Akshaya Tritiya". Gaurannga Institute for Vedic Education (GIVEGITA).
  16. ^ "Hindus and Jains celebrate Akshayya Tritiya for their own reasons". Merinews. Archived from the original on 12 June 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  17. ^ "It's Akshayya Tritiya today". DNAIndia. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  18. ^ "Akshaya Tritiya Significance". TourismOnlineIn. Archived from the original on 9 May 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2016.

Sources[edit]