Unlike most Indian festivals, Mahāvīra Jayanti, in keeping with the austere nature of Jainism, is celebrated with great sincerity and devotion. For the Jains, quiet celebrations, visits to temples, prayers and worship mark the birth anniversary of the Mahāvīra. Visiting various pilgrimage places is also a vital part of the celebration.
Special prayers are also offered at the Jain temples. People attend sermons to learn the teachings of Lord Mahāvīra.
This day reminds us the supreme compassion of Bhagwān Mahāvīra and the path to liberation he has preached.
Temples are decorated to express devotion and joy for the occasion of Bhagawän’s birthday. At many temples elaborate worship rituals and the rite of Abhisheka are carried out quite enthusiastically. Some communities even celebrate this day by carrying out grand processions with the idol of Bhagwān Mahāvīra in an elegant chariot.
It is also an educational and fun experience for Jain youth to celebrate this day by expressing Bhagwān Mahāvīra’s message through cultural activities like speeches, plays, songs, and dances related to Bhagwān Mahāvīra’s life. The Murtipujak Jains (idol worshiping) visit temples and worship the statue of Lord Mahāvīra; the Non-murtipujak Jains emphasize the internalization of the faith.
The event holds special significance in the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan because the ancient Jain shrines at Girnār, Delwādā, and Palitānā are situated in these states. Mahāvīra Jayanti is also celebrated at Pāvāpuri in Bihar state where Lord Mahāvīra attained nirvana.