Brand Studio

Traditions of Mahavir Jayanti: Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Lord Mahavira

Explore the vibrant traditions of Mahavir Jayanti, a Jain festival celebrating Lord Mahavira's birthday. Learn about fasting, prayers, processions, and how Jains honor their faith and values.

Lord Mahavira

Sri Mahavira Jayanti, a day that marks the birthday of Lord Mahavira, the twenty-fourth and last Tirthankar of the Jain faith, is a merry and spiritually valuable occasion for all Jains around the world. It's the day to observe the teachings of Mahavira, contemplate his life, and take spiritual guidance from him. Let’s check the core observances that are a part of Mahavir Jayanti.

Fasting and Abstinence:

Observation of fasting is the central pillar of the Mahavir Jayanti celebration. The Jains may take the determination of this caliber and go on a complete fast, which includes abstinence from all food and water for a full 24 hours.

A complete fast would be an option for some people as this would require them to consume nothing or just a simple meal, while others may choose partial deprivation, a diet of fruits and vegetables.

Serving a dual purpose, fasting is considered cleansing of both body and mind in order to immerse into the act of spiritual reflection. It pays respect to Mahavira’s own ascetic practices.

Prayers and Puja

Shrines dedicated to Jainism give a multi-colored appeal on the day of Mahavir Jayanti. Devotees get themselves together for particular prayer sessions and Puja.

By means of chanting hymns that are devoted to Mahavira, meditating on his teachings, as well as praying for peace and freedom all these things are common practices.

The statue of Lord Mahavira, the guru of Jainism, is often decorated with flowers & takes part in a ritual bathing known as abhisheka with the use of milk, water, and other offerings.

Processions and carriages are also very common for marking the occasion. Some places celebrate grand processions with statues of Saint Mahavira being taken around on covered chariots.

On the way, faithful followers sing some devotional songs and hymns as they walk in the street, creating a festive atmosphere. Such parades are not only great for celebrating the teachings of Mahavira but are also a perfect medium for the propagation of the Jain values and principles to the people of the community.

Lectures and Spiritual Discourses

Mahavir Jayanti is a season in which one can indulge in spiritual learning and contemplation. Mahavira and his principles are constantly taught by Jain monks and nuns who deliver lectures and discourses on his life and teachings.

These discourses delve into the core principles of Jainism like ahimsa (non-violence), aparigraha (non-possession), and right conduct, inspiring devotees to lead more ethical and compassionate lives.

Charity and Community Service

Helping those in need is an important aspect of Jain philosophy. On Mahavir Jayanti, Jains often engage in acts of charity and community service.

Donations are made to support the underprivileged, food is distributed to the hungry, and acts of kindness are encouraged.

By helping others, Jains embody the spirit of Mahavira's teachings and contribute to a more just and compassionate world.

Family Gatherings and Festivities

While spiritual reflection is the focus of this festival, it is also an occasion for family gatherings to take place under the pretext of observing common beliefs. 

Following fast overserving, families gather and share a simple vegetarian meal celebrating the occasion together.

Some communities prefer to participate in cultural programs with music and dance performances marking the festival, which adds a hint of vibrance to the day.

Significance of these Traditions:

Not only Mahavir Jayanti is a set of traditions but it revolves around more than just the common practices. It serves as a way for Jains to:

Connect with their faith: Engaging in these celebrations, Jains reinforce their faithfulness to the religion and confirm their obedience to the Jain way of life.

Honor Lord Mahavira: These rituals are a reverence to the life and teachings of Mahavira, signifying gratefulness to his direction on the peaceful road to liberation.

Practice Jain values: During fasts, prayers, and charities, Jains follow the values of non-violence, compassion, and detachment in which they believe.

Spread awareness:
The parades, processions and all community events create public interest in Jainism and its message, which is about peace and non-violence.

Observing Mahavir Jayanti as a festival bears no confines of one day. It is the symbol of the contribution of Lord Mahavira to the world and a call for us all to adopt the practices of ahimsa, right conduct, and spiritual freedom that he embodied.