Samvatsari

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Samvatsari
In-jain.svg
Official name Samvatsari Paryushan
Observed by Swetambar sect of Jains worldwide
Liturgical Color White
Type Jain festival
Significance Last day of Paryushan festival, on which Jains forgive and seek forgiveness from all living beings
Date Bhadrapada Shukla Panchami
2017 date August 26
2018 date September 13
2019 date September 3
2020 date August 23
Frequency Annual
Related to Paryushan, Kshamavaani

Saṃvatsarī (Sanskrit: संवत्सरी) (lit. Annual Day or fig. Forgiveness Day) is the last day of Paryushana festival observed annually by the followers of Shwetambar sect of Jainism. It falls on Shukla Panchami (5th day of waxing fortnight) each year in Jain calendar month of Bhadrapada, somewhere between the middle of August and September in the Gregorian calendar.

On this day, Jains forgive and seek forgiveness for their mistakes committed knowingly or unknowingly from all the living beings. A yearly, elaborate penitential retreat called "samvatsari pratikramana" is performed on this day. After the pratikramana, Jains seek forgiveness from all the creatures of the world, including friends and relatives by uttering the phrase — Micchami Dukkadam or its variants like "Khamau Sa", "Uttam Kshama" or "Khamat Khamna".

Etymology[edit]

Samvatsari is derived from the Hindi word "Samvatsara" which itself has its origin in the Sanskrit language. Samvatsara refers to a "year" in Vedic literature such as the Rigveda and other ancient texts.[1]. Thus, Samvatsari literally refers to a day that comes annually.

Customs and Traditions[edit]

As a matter of ritual, they personally greet their friends and relatives Micchami Dukkadam. No private quarrel or dispute may be carried beyond Saṃvatsarī and messages, telephone calls are made to the outstation friends and relatives asking their forgiveness.[2]

Being the holiest day of the Jain calendar,[3][4] many Jains observe a complete fast on this day.

Samvatsari and Kshamavaani[edit]

While Samvatsari and Kshamavaani are typically associated with Shwetambar sect and Digambara respectively, there is no major difference between the two days and both are observed as Forgiveness Days. Rather, the two are usually used interchangeably.

However, a major difference between the two is that despite both Samvatsari and Kshamavaani falling on the last day of Paryushan, they are in fact two different days. This is because the Paryushan festival for the two sects itself commences on different dates and is of varying duration.

As a result, while Samvatsari is observed on Shukla Panchami of Bhadrapada month by the Shwetambars, the Digambaras celebrate it on the first day of Ashvin Krishna month of the lunar-based Jain calendar.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bettina Bäumer; Kapila Vatsyayan (1992). Kalātattvakośa: A Lexicon of Fundamental Concepts of the Indian Arts. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 215–216. ISBN 978-81-208-1044-0. 
  2. ^ Hastings, James (2003), Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics Part 10, Kessinger Publishing ISBN 978-0-7661-3682-3 p.876
  3. ^ Shah, Nathubhai (1998). Jainism: The World of Conquerors. Volume I and II. Sussex: Sussex Academy Press. ISBN 1-898723-30-3.  p. 212
  4. ^ "Jains pray for peace, brotherhood". The Hindu. 2007-09-13. Retrieved 2009-11-11. 

See also[edit]