Significance of Mahavir Jayanti: History, Significance, & Celebrations

Learn about the tradition and of course the food that's served particularly on Mahavir Jayanti.

Published On Mar 30, 2023 | Updated On Mar 02, 2024

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Mahavir Jayanti is one of the most important festivals for the Jain community world over. It is the anniversary of the birth of Lord Mahavir, the 24th and final Tirthankara (spiritual figurehead) of Jainism. Lord Mahavir spent his entire life preaching the values of Jainism, such as non-violence, compassion, and self-control. He was born around 599 BCE in what is now Bihar, India.

For the Jain community, Mahavir Jayanti is an auspicious day. It is a moment to reflect on and aspire to Lord Mahavir's teachings. Jains participate in prayer sessions, talks, and processions, as part of the festival, which is observed with great dedication and reverence. To show their gratitude and devotion to Lord Mahavir, Jains also engage in deeds of kindness and charity on this day.

Ahimsa, or nonviolence, is the fundamental Jain principle and refers to the practice of not injuring any living thing. This idea is strongly related to the idea of karma, which maintains that every action has repercussions and that doing good is necessary to attain spiritual purity and nirvana. Moreover, according to Jainism, every living thing has a soul or jiva, and every jiva is equal and deserving of respect and compassion, from the smallest insect to the greatest mammal. Jains hold the view that we can achieve spiritual enlightenment and live in peace and harmony with all living things by practising non-violence and compassion.

Jains attend processions and cultural events on Mahavir Jayanti in addition to visiting temples and praying to Lord Mahavir. Jains also perform rituals and present food to Lord Mahavir. They also donate food and clothing to the less fortunate.

Generally, the festive food on Mahavir Jayanti is simple but delicious, and it is made in accordance with Jain tenets. Jains show their respect for all living things and their dedication to non-violence and compassion by abstaining from meat, onions, garlic, and other root vegetables. These values are reflected in the cuisine prepared on Mahavir Jayanti, which is a significant part of the event.

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The sabudana khichdi, a savoury dish made with tapioca pearls, peanuts, and spices, is a dish frequently made during Mahavir Jayanti. It is a well-liked breakfast option and is also provided on days when people fast.

The popular delicacy batata vada, a deep-fried potato fritter, is another. In order to make it, mashed potatoes are covered in a batter made of gram flour and deep-fried till crispy. It frequently comes with chutney or green chilli sauce on the side.

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An additional meal that is frequently cooked on Mahavir Jayanti is katachi amti with puran poli. When making chana dal for puran poli, the remaining water is used to make a spicy lentil soup called katachi amti. A sweet flatbread called puran poli is created with a chana dal, jaggery, and spice filling. Another main course that is popular during the festival is Gujarati Kadhi.

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For dessert, a well-liked dish cooked on Mahavir Jayanti is Shrikhand, a delicious yoghurt pudding scented with cardamom and saffron. It is frequently served chilled and topped with almonds and raisins.

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There’s no doubt that sweets are truly celebrated on this day, and one such sweet is modak, a sweet dumpling made with rice flour and filled with coconut and jaggery. It is frequently offered to Lord Mahavir during rites and prayers.

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Jains cook a variety of snacks and desserts in addition to these meals, including samosas, kachoris, and dhoklas, which are cooked with lentil flour and spices.

Mahavir Jayanti, a Jain festival honouring Lord Mahavir's life and teachings, is a significant occasion for followers all around the world. The festival serves as a chance to reflect on our behaviour and aspire to live in peace and harmony with all living things. It also serves as a reminder of the Jainist tenets of nonviolence, compassion, and self-control. Jains strive to live their life in line with Lord Mahavir's teachings and to show their gratitude and devotion to him via deeds of charity, devotion, and kindness.


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