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When is Mahavir Jayanti ?
Mahavir Jayanti is the most important religious holiday in Jainism.
In 2016, Mahavir Jayanti is listed as a holiday observed on 19 April in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Madhya pradesh, Nagaland, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh.
Mahavir Jayanti was listed as a holiday in on 20 April 2016 in several regions (Haryana, Punjab, UP), but these regions have now all issued notices that 19 April 2016 will be the holiday and cancelled the public holiday on 20 April.
This is a gazetted holiday which means that government offices and most businesses are closed.
The holiday is celebrated on the 13th day of the waxing (rising) half of Hindu month of Caitra which usually occurs in either late March or early April in the Gregorian calendar.
Mahavir Jayanti celebrates the birth of Mahavira, a contemporary of the Buddha, and the 24th and last Tirthankara (great sages).
Mahavira, known originally as Vardhamana, was born in either 599 BC or 615 BC. The Digambar school of Jainism say that Lord Mahavira was born in the year 615 BC, but the Swetambaras believe that He was born in 599 BC. However, both sects believe that Mahavira was the son of Siddhartha and Trisala.
According to the legend, Devananda, wife of a Brahmin named Rishabhdeva, conceived him, but the gods transferred the embryo to the womb of Trisala.
According to Swetambara sect the expectant mother was believed to have seen 14 auspicious dreams. (According to Digambara sect it was 16 dreams). Astrologers interpreted these dreams and predicted that the child would be either an emperor or a Teerthankar.
For over a decade, he was an ascetic, wandering about, begging for food, and wearing little. Then he found enlightenment, became a Tirthankara and taught for 30 years before his death.
The present-day ascetic religion of Jainism revers Mahavira as their key prophet. Practiced by over3.5 million people, Jainism . They follow a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Some may wear face masks to prevent the chance of inadvertently killing an insect while breathing in.
Mahavir Jayanti is a festival marked with prayers and fasting. The holiday is especially popular in the eastern state of Bihar, where Mahavira was born near the modern town of Patna. A large celebration is held at the Parasnatha temple, Calcutta.