Mahavir Jayanti 2023: What It Is, Why Is It Celebrated, And More

by Vaishalee Kalvankar
Mahavir Jayanti 2023: What It Is, Why Is It Celebrated, And More

Mahavir Jayanti marks the birth anniversary of Lord Mahavir and is a very important religious festival celebrated by Jains across the globe. The celebration often takes place on the thirteenth day of the bright half of the Hindu month of Chaitra, which falls in late March or early April. This year, the festival will be celebrated on April 4, (Tuesday). From why it is celebrated to special dishes, here’s everything you need to know about this Jain festival. 

Why is Mahavir Jayanti celebrated?

Lord Mahavir is known as the twenty-fourth and last Tirthankara of Jainism. All throughout his life, Lord Mahavir preached the principles of Jainism, including compassion, self-control, and nonviolence. Mahavir Jayanti is an auspicious day marking Lord Mahavir’s birth anniversary for the entire Jain community. 

Lord Mahavir was born to King Siddhartha and Queen Trishala in 599 BCE in Vaishali, which is a town in Bihar, India. He was initially named Vardhaman, which changed to Mahavir after he attained enlightenment. Mahavir in Sanskrit means ‘great hero’. 

Mahavir Jayanti is important for all the Jains because it serves as a reminder of Lord Mahavir’s teachings and the importance of upholding his values of nonviolence, honesty, and compassion for all living things.

mahavir jayanti
Pic credits: needpix


As said above, Lord Mahavir was born to King Siddhartha and Queen Trishala. Although he was surrounded by comfort and luxury, he never felt drawn to material things. At the age of 30, he left his kingdom, his family, and his responsibilities to pursue his quest for the meaning of life. To achieve inner peace and calm, he underwent a 12-year period of rigorous penance in the forest. 

mahavir jayanti
pic credits: wikimedia commons

How is it celebrated?

All the Jain temples are beautifully decorated with flags to celebrate Mahavir Jayanti. People visit the temples, offer abhishek, or ceremonial baths, to the idol of Lord Mahavir. They offer flowers, sweets to the idol and perform puja too. 

 Sermons are held in the temples, which remind people of Mahavira’s priceless teachings. Important chapters related to the life of Lord Mahavir are read out. Chapters from the biographies of Jain Tirthankaras are also read. 

 Processions called ‘Rath Yatras’ are also organised, where the idols are carried through the streets in beautifully decorated chariots. All the devotees accompanying the procession sing hymns and chant prayers. 

 Jains observe strict fasts on this day. On this day, they offer food and clothes to poor and needy people. 

mahavir jayanti
credits:wikimedia commons

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Let us know how it is celebrated at your place in the comments below.

Cover Image Courtesy: Flickr