Mahavir Jayanti is also known as Mahavir Janma Kalyanak and is the most important religious festivals for people following Jainism. Mahavir Jayanti celebrates the birth of Lord Mahavir. Mahavir was born to the royal couple King Siddartha and Queen Trishala in 599 BCE. During Trishala pregnancy, she had number of auspicious dreams, all signifying the coming of a great soul. Svetambaras and Digambaras believe that she got 14 and 16 dreams respectively. Astrologers predicted he would become a Chakravarti or a Tirthankara. King Indra bathed Mahavir with celestial milk marking him as Tirthankara. Mahavir preached the philosophy to encourage truthfulness, chastity, nonviolence, non-stealing, and simple living. Mahavir died in year 527 BC at the age of 72 to attain Nirvana or Moksha. He was cremated at Pawapuri, which was converted into a Jain temple.
Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated throughout the country among the Jain communities. But the celebrations are at peaks in Gujarat and Rajasthan states. It is celebrated on the 13th day of Chaitra month of Hindu calendar. In English calendar it comes in the month of April.
There is a belief that Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated in simplicity but there are some significant ceremonies that they hold. Devotees bring Mahavir statue to home and give it a ceremonial bath which is traditionally known as Abhisheka. Special parades are carried out by the devotees, showcasing a montage on the life of Mahavir. On the way bhajans are chanted. All the devotees go to Jain temple to get blessing from the Mahavir for their prosperity. Monks and nuns delivery lecture to lead the path of virtue as defined by Jainism. Donations are collected to promote charitable missions. The act of giving forms plays a significant role in the celebration. As per the principle of Lord Mahavir, the devotees practice charitable acts. The gift of giving can be Gyan daan, Abhay daan, Aushad daan, Ahaar daan etc.