Unlike many other festivals of the world and even India, most Hindu festivals rarely fall on the same day every year. That is of course, if you follow the Gregorian calendar, which most of the world does. However, if you follow the lunisolar calendar of Hinduism, these festivals do fall on the same day.
In this case, Akshaya Tritiya falls on the third lunar day of the bright half of the month of Vaisakha. This is reflected in the name of the festival itself, with ‘Akshaya’ meaning ‘imperishable’, ‘eternal’ or ‘never perishing’ while ‘Tritiya’ means ‘third’. It usually falls in April or May of the Gregorian calendar, and is one of the most auspicious days of the Hindu calendar.
While it falls on the same day of the Hindu calendar, it is not just a Hindu festival. Akshaya Tritiya is also celebrated by Jains across the world. Most of these reside in India and Nepal and therefore the day is a big occasion for people of both religions in these countries.
In Jainism, it commemorates the ending of a year of asceticism by Rishabhdev, their first Tirthankara, or spiritual teacher. It is believed he ended his asceticism by consuming sugarcane juice that was poured into his cupped hands. Therefore, in Jainism, unlike the celebration in Hinduism, this festival is often observed by fasting and other similar ascetic austerities. Many Jains also undertake holy pilgrimages to sacred sites like Palitana, which is a small town in the Indian state of Gujarat.
In Hinduism, Akshaya Tritiya is believed to be extremely auspicious and sacred and as such, many new ventures and projects are planned in such a way so as to be inaugurated on that day. It is believed that anything new started on Akshaya Tritiya will be looked on favourably by the gods and be successful.
Another Hindu belief is that Akshaya Tritiya also marks the birthday of the sixth avatar or incarnation of Vishnu, Parasurama. This is why this festival is also known as Parasurama Jayanti in the areas where it is celebrated in his honour. Another legend states that the recitation of the Mahabharatha, the great Hindu epic, to Ganesha, the elephant-headed Hindu god, by Ved Vyasa was begun on this day. Yet another one states that the river Ganges descended from the heavens, or more specifically the milky way, to earth on this day.
Whatever the reason behind the belief, it is no question that the day is an important one. This is why Delhi airport is also celebrating the occasion with various discounts and offers across its outlets. Making Akshaya Tritiya truly a great opportunity to grab some amazing deals and products across a variety of categories.