Reckoned an auspicious day in the Hindu calendar, Akshaya Tritiya is also a most celebrated festival in India. The festival has mythological importance, therefore unsurprisingly, it has become the day to begin any new venture or even to open the portals of sacred destinations like Chhota Chardham in Uttarakhand. Though the celebrations of this festival is not as vivacious as other popular Hindu festivals like Diwali and Holi, Akshaya Tritiya does hold great importance in Hinduism. Here’s everything you need to know about this auspicious day.
What You Should Know About?
Often touted as ‘Akha Teej’, Akshaya Tritiya is considered as one of the auspicious days in the Hindu calendar. Celebrated by both Hindus and Jains with great devotion and ardour, the religious occasion marks the birth of Lord Parasurama. As per the beliefs, the festival brings luck and success in one’s life. In the term Akshaya Tritiya, ‘Akshaya’ stands for eternal, the never diminishing or imperishable whereas, ‘Tritiya’ refers to the third.
In Jainism, the festival pays homage to Rishabhdev – the first Tirthankara who ended his one-year asceticism by drinking sugarcane juice. In Jainism, the festival of Akshaya Tritiya is also called ‘Varsi Tapa’.
When is Akshaya Tritiya?
Every year, the festivity of Akshaya Tritiya is observed on the third day of Shukla Paksha in the Hindu month of Vaisakh (April – May). It is said that on that day both moon and sun remain at their planetary best.
When is Akshaya Tritiya in 2021?
This year the festival will be observed on 14th May 2021.
As Insight into the Mythology of Akshaya Tritiya
The festival of Akha Teej boasts a rich history, and hence, various legends are associated with the celebration of this golden day in Hinduism. Following are the legends behind Akshaya Tritiya.
Lord Parasurama’s Birth: Akshaya Tritiya is mainly recognised as the day of Lord Parasurama. It is said that, on the pious day of Akshaya Tritiya, Lord Parasurama was born. He is the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. As per the Puranic scriptures, it was Lord Parasurama who regained the possession of land from the sea.
Goddess Annapurna’s Birth: As per the beliefs, the Goddess of food – Annapurna was born on this auspicious day. Annapurna is one of the many forms of Goddess Parvati. Once Lord Shiva went to Goddess Annapurna as a beggar for food. It is said that the Goddess fed Lord Shiva herself.
The Mahabharat Connection: As per the legend, on the day of Akshaya Tritiya, Lord Ganesha wrote the Hindu epic Mahabharat on the dictation of Ved Vyas.
In Mahabharata, there was Yudhishtar. He was the son of Dharma and the eldest of all five brothers (Pandavas). Yudhistar was given a bowl – Akshaya Patram by Lord Krishna at Thirumanthurai Temple. The bowl was said to give unlimited food. Yudhishtar used to this bowl to help and serve food to poor people. This incident of giving the bowl to Yudhishtar happened on the day of Akshaya Tritiya.
Kubera’s Appointment: On the day of Akshaya Tritiya, Kubera – the Banker in Heaven was granted a good wealth by worshipping Lord Shiva. Also, on the same day, Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi was blessed by Lord Shiva. Both Goddess Lakshmi and Kubera were given the custodian position of prosperity and wealth.
Krishna and Sudama Legend: Akshaya Tritiya also marks the meeting of Lord Krishna and his childhood friend Sudama. Accompanied by a handful of rice, Sudama went to Lord Krishna’s palace in order to seek some financial aid. Lord Krishna was a follower of an ancient Hindu principle – Athithi Devo Bhava, which means ‘Guest is God’. Hence, he treated Sudama nothing less than a king. By seeing the overwhelming hospitality of Lord Krishna, Sudama couldn’t ask for anything, and thus, returned home barehanded. But on his return, he found that his small hut has turned into a big palace.
Puranic Mythology: There was a merchant in the ancient time who was so poor that he could hardly manage to have one meal a day. Despite this, he was so religious. Seeing his devotion towards the Almighty, the elders told him the greatness of Akshaya Tritiya. On their advice, the poor merchant, on the day of Akshaya Tritiya, woke up early in the morning. He then took a bath and went out to offer food, sugarcane juice, money and milk to poor Brahmins. With his sincere efforts, he was born Kushapathy Chakravarthy in his next birth.
Ganges Legend: As per the folklore, the sacred river of Ganga descended to earth from heaven. This happened on the day of Akshaya Tritiya.
Why it is Celebrated?
There is sacred significance of Akshaya Tritiya amongst devotees. In the Hindu community, this religious occasion is considered a lucky day, and thus, is the main reason why Akshaya Tritiya is celebrated. As per the beliefs, any new venture, business or construction of a building will turn out to be prosperous if started on this day. Not just this, on this popular Hindu festival, people also perform holy rites, rituals and acts of charity that are believed to bring grace, prosperity and unending bliss.
How is it Celebrated?
Akha Teej is majorly observed in Odisha, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh in a grand manner. However, the festival in these regions is celebrated with different rituals and customs. Talking about how to celebrate Akshaya Tritiya, there are numerous rites and rituals that are performed by the devotees on this special occasion.
In the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Akshaya Tritiya holds the status of one of the most important festivals in the region. In Banke Bihari Temple in Vrindavan, the feet of the presiding deity are shown on this day of the year. As per the beliefs, the day of Akha Teej is the first day of creation, and hence, boasts such a high sacred significance. The idols of Lord Krishna are adorned with the sandalwood paste. Besides, cucumber, aamras, juice and laddus made up of sattu (floor of ground pulses and cereals) are offered to the deity as holy offerings.
In the state of Odisha, the festival marks the starting of the construction of chariots for the grand procession of Rath Yatra. Akshaya Tritiya is the day when the famous Chandan Yatra begins. In western Odisha, this special day is also touted as ‘Muthi Chhuan’. On this day, the consumption of green leaves is forbidden. Also, farmers sow seeds on this day.
Even in the state of Maharashtra, this religious festival is celebrated with great pomp by women. Women pray for the well-being and long life of their husbands. As a ritual, they exchange Haldi (turmeric) and Kumkum (vermilion). Both haldi and kumkum are the symbols of marital bliss. Not just this, they gather along and worship Goddes Gauri and offer them sweets and fruits.
In West Bengal, the festival of Akshaya Tritiya is celebrated with much devotion and fervour. People purchase long-term assets like gold and silver on this day. In order to bring luck and prosperity into the business, businessmen perform religious function and puja to worship Goddess Lakshmi.
Rituals Performed During Akshaya Tritiya
Akshaya Tritiya is one of the most vibrant Hindu festivals that are celebrated with love and zeal, especially amongst the people of West Bengal, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. Since the festival boasts various legends, different god and goddesses are worshipped on Akshaya Tritiya. Therefore, this religious occasion includes various rituals that are observed by devotees. Below we have mentioned those rituals that give you the answer of what to do on Akshaya Tritiya if you are celebrating the festival.
- Lord Vishnu is worshipped by keeping a fast on the day of Akshaya Tritiya. Along with that, acts of charity are performed by devotees by distributing rice, ghee, clothes, vegetables, fruits and salt to the poor.
- In the eastern region of India, the day of Akha Teej marks the start of harvest season. Whereas, on the same day, before the commencement of new audit book for the next financial year, businessmen worship Lord Ganesha Goddess Lakshmi for a prosperous business for the next year.
- There is another ritual of Akha Teej where devotees purchase gold and gold jewellery. Since gold is symbolic to good wealth and fortune, hence, purchasing gold on Akshaya Tritiya is considered pious.
- The day is also considered lucky to start a new venture, business and construction work.
- Wedding and long journeys are also planned on Akha Teej.
- In some region, devotees also take a holy bath in the sacred waters of River Ganges. Donation and offerings are also performed as part of the ritual of the festival.
- In Jainism, people end their year-long Tapasya by drinking sugarcane juice.
- On the day of Akshaya Tritiya, Lord Krishna is embalmed with sandalwood paste. As per the beliefs, doing so ensure heaven after death.
- One of the most important rituals of Akshaya Tritiya is the chanting of holy mantras, meditation and performing spiritual activities. This brings a good fortune in the future.
Things to Know about Akshaya Tritiya
- Like every other Indian festival, there are also various interesting things you must know about Akha Teej.
- In Jain and Hindu Panchang, there are few days in a month that come extra and there are few days that are absent in counting. But, Akshaya Tritiya is the only day which is never absent from the Hindu calendar.
- It is believed that if you do charity on this day, you will be blessed.
- According to Hindu electional astrology (Muhurta), there are three auspicious lunar days. The first one is starting of a New Year which is observed on the first day of the bright half of Chaitra month (March – April). Second is Vijay Dashmi which falls on the tenth day of bright half of Ashvina month (October – November). The last is the Akshaya Tritiya which falls on the third day of bright half of Vaisakha month (April – May).
- The day of Akha Teej is one of the most important days for farmers. Early in the morning, the male of the family goes to the field to sow the seeds with a hope to get a good harvest.
- In Jain religion, people observe year-long alternative day fasting known as Varshitap. By drinking sugarcane juice, people break their fast on the day of Akshaya Tritiya.
Best Places to Visit to Celebrate Akshaya Tritiya
The festival is celebrated in most of the regions of India. However, it is majorly observed in four states namely, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and Maharashtra. All the four regions are known to celebrate Akha Teej with much gusto, fervour and devotion. Above I have explained how the festivity of Akshaya Tritiya is observed in these regions.
Message from the Festival to the Society
Akshaya Tritiya, the festival is reckoned amongst those religious occasions that deliver a beautiful message to society. Let’s have a look into what the festival conveys to us.
- Since the Akha Teej Festival includes various acts of charity, it gives special importance to the word ‘generosity’.
- The festival of Akshaya Tritiya is celebrated with family, hence, it focuses on love and togetherness.
- By offering prasad to friends, family and neighbours, the festival also focuses on ‘Unity in Diversity’.
- By feeding poor people and offering them clothes and other necessary items, the festival of Akshaya Tritiya focuses on ‘Care’.
So that was all about the Akshaya Tritiya festival. Hope you have liked the blog as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you want to read more such informative blogs, then do subscribe to our newsletter as we keep posting informative blogs to cater to your inquisitivity about culture, history, and traditions in India and abroad.