Akshay Tritiya is a popular festival for Hindus and Jains and is widely celebrated in India and Nepal.
Akshay Tritiya is also called as Akha Teej or Akti and is celebrated as a festival of endless fortune and prosperity.
In Sanskrit, Akshaya means “wealth, infinite” & tritiya means “third”. Akshaya Tritiya is an annual spring festival which falls on the third (day) tithi of Shukla Paksha of Indian lunar month of Vaisakha. This generally is around the Gregorian months of April / May.
The festival of New Beginnings or Shubh Mahurat
As the name suggests this festival means endless fortune and possibilities. Therefore this day is considered a Shubh Mahurat – very auspicious day by Hindus and Jains to start any new ventures, buying land, property, gold, valuable, marriages and for any new beginnings.
In Jainism, it is celebrated as the day Shri Bhagwan Rishabhdev, the first Tirthankara ended his yearlong ascetism and fast by drinking sugarcane juice. Even now Jains who follow the yearlong strict Varshi-tap fasting end their fast by consuming sugarcane juice and doing parana.
Akshay Tritiya is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Lord Parshuram, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Akshay Tritiya festival is also called as Sri Parasuram Jayanti.
It was on this day when Ved Vyasa Rishi started the dictation of Hindu epic of Mahabharata to Lord Ganesha. It took 3 years to write Mahabharat by Lord Ganesh ji.
On Akshaya Tritiya, the holy river of Hindus Ganga (Ganges) descended on earth. Ganga is the daughter of Lord Brahma, the creator of universe. King Bhagiratha of Kosala kingdom from Uttar Pradesh prayed intensely to Lord Brahma, the creator for granting life to his kingdom in the form of a river. Impressed by his prayers, Lord Bramha asked his daughter to flow in the form of a river on earth on Akshay Tritiya.
It was on Akshaya Tritiya that Krishna’s poor Brahmin childhood friend Sudama visited him for some financial help. He was welcomed by Krishna with utmost warmth. He had brought a handful of pressed rice poha for Krishna but was ashamed to offer it to the great King of Dwaraka. Krishna ate all the poha with love. Sudama stayed for some days with Krishna but forgot to ask for help. When he reached back home he was surprised to see his poor hut changed to a palace and seeing the unlimited wealth gifted by Lord Krishna. Therefore it is believed that what you share on Akshay Tritiya is given back to you in manifold proportion.
Kubera or Kuber, the Lord of Wealth was awarded his position as the wealth God on Akshay Tritiya.
Ratha Yatra, the annual Chariot Festival of Shri Lord Jagannath is celebrated by Hindus at Puri in the Indian state of Odisha. This festival falls in the Gregorian months of June / July. On Akshay Tritiya, the construction of chariots for annual Rath Yatra festivities begins.
Akshaya Patra, a magic vessel which had endless supply of food was gifted by Sun deity to Draupadi, the wife of Pandavas on Akshay Tritiya. The Akshaya Patra would provide unlimited food for feeding Pandavas and their guests and the supply would end only after Draupadi had her meals.
There are 4 yugas or ages of mankind as per Hinduism. Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga, Kali Yuga in order. Akshay Tritiya festival is the beginning of Treta Yuga after Goddess Durga killed Mahishasura demon. In Sanskrit, Mahisha means buffalo and Asura means demon, Mahishasura was a buffalo demon who was extremely powerful and in the war against Devas he defeated many Gods including Indra. He had a boon that no male could kill him. Goddess Durga the diety of Shakti or power is a fierce form riding on a lion. She fought a fierce battle with Mahishasura and defeated him.
Sraddha or Shraadh, a vedic ritual in Hinduism to pay homage to one’s ancestors, gratifying them and to offer oblations to departed souls. The Sanskrit word Sraddha literally means an act performed with total devotion and faith. Sraddha ceremony is performed on this auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya.
On Akshay Tritiya it is believed that whatever you donate, you get back exponentially. Married women pray for their partners and unmarried women pray for the well being of future husbands. Many people offer free food distribution and feed needy and poor people.