India is a secular country full of diversity in the religions, languages, cultures and castes; it is always crowded with the people involved in the fairs and festivals celebration. People from each religion have their own cultural and traditional festivals. Similarly, people from Jain religion have lots of rituals and religious ceremonies to be celebrated. The Jains worship their idols in various ways and their festivals belong to the various life events of Tirthankara that involves the purification of the soul. Below are some known Jain Festivals-
Paryushan Mahaparva is an eight day festival and is considered as one of the most important festival of Jainism. These eight days, the entire Jain society becomes enthralling in the atmosphere of spiritualism and passion. All Jains including the young ones and the old ones performs Atthai Tap - fasting for eight days at a time. on the 12th day of the half month of the waning moon and ending on the fourth day of the half month of the enlarged moon in Bhadrapad. Kalpasutra, the most sacred scripture of the Jains is read out by spiritual experts. It is believed that during this time of festival when the 1250 fundamental Sutras are explained by spiritual experts and when people listen to their voice, it results in burning hate.
Navpad is a sacred festival of Jain culture. during the days if this festival Navpad is offered with worship everyday and dramatic performance of the story of Shripal and Mayana is accomplished.
The birthday of Mahavir
Thirteenth day of the half month of the enlarged moon, in the month of Chaitra, the birthday of the last Tirthankar Shraman Bhagwan is celebrated. glories of the Lord, deliberations, communications, workshops and devotional and spiritual activities are held. In Kshatriy Kund, Bihar, elegant celebration takes place.
It is believed that a state of absolute bliss was attained by Mahavirswami, it means that Lord discarded his body and the enslavement of all Karmas and material powers on that night which is celebrated as Diwnli, at Pavapuri. It is said that People should fast on the Chafurdasi and the new moon day Uttaradhyayan Sutra should be head which contains as it contains the final message of Lord Mahavir. Jains begin the new year with a glorification of Lord Gautam Swami.
The story behind this festival is that when Shraman Bhagawan Mahavir's brother Raja Nandivardhan was immersed in pain and sorrow Surdarshana took him to her house and aided him. This day is marked as Bhai Beej. This happened on second day of half month in Kartik. This festival is similar to Rakshabandhan, but the difference is that on Rakshabandhan sister goes to brother's house to tie raksha but on Bhai beej brother goes to sister's house.
This day is considered as the holy day for achieving knowledge. This festival takes place on 5th day of the half month of the waxing moon in Kartik. True knowledge is worshiped on this day. Religious books that are preserved in libraries are expurgated and worshiped. Fasting, holy recitation, Pratikraman, taking Paushadh, offering admiration to Gods, meditation, etc is the way of worshipping knowledge.
Among the Jains, many austerities like Tapasya, Self sacrifice, etc are formulated on this festival. On the fourteenth day of the half month of waxing moon, in the month of Ashad, Chaturmas is initiated. Great importance is given to this day.
This festival is considered to be the holy day of silence. Total silence-Maun is observed by Jains this day. The day holds importance spiritually in lives of Jains. Fasting, paushadh vrat, meditation, worshipping of gods, etc is done on this day. Suvrat Shresthi's story is connected with this day. On this day the great events relating to the one hundred and fifty Jineswaras are celebrated.
This festival holds importance because on this day Bhagwan Parshwanath was born. In respect to this festival, thousands of Jains perform tapasya of 3 Upavas-attham, which means continuing fasting for three days. Efforts to attain spiritual benefits are performed by devotees and in the form of meditation. Thousands of people gather in Sankheshwar which is a sacred place of Jains.
Falling on the 3rd day of the bright half month Akshay Tritiya is Considered to be a very promising day for going on a pilgrimage to Shatrunjay, People who carries sugar-cane juice in the cool shadow of Shatrunjay are the ones who complete formalities of Varsitap. On this day after fasting for one year continuously Bhagwan Rishabdev performed the Parana.