Mahavir Jayanti

Mahavir Jayanti is one of the most important holidays for practitioners of Jainism—a religion that advocates the practice of nonviolence and self-control. Its observance not only coincides with the birth of Vardhamana but is also a celebration of it.

This religious holiday is celebrated on the thirteenth day of the waxing moon in the month of Caitra as prescribed by the Jain lunar calendar. On the Gregorian calendar, this is usually around March or April.


Mahavir is believed by Jains to be born in either the year 615 BC or 599 BC, depending on the sect. Mahavir was a contemporary of Buddha and is considered to be the last of the great sages.

For over ten years of his life, he spent his time as an ascetic; living a rootless existence, wearing rags, and begging for food. Then one day, he became enlightened, became a great sage or Tirthankara, and spent the last three decades of his life teaching.

Today, Jainism is a religion that is practiced by over six million people worldwide, with the majority of these followers living in India. However, there are also smaller immigrant populations of these followers who live in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Followers of this religion adhere to the five vows. These five vows include nonviolence, adherence to truth, abstention from stealing, chastity for laypeople, and celibacy for monks, and non-possessiveness.

Customs, Traditions, and Observances

Mahavir Jayanti is a gazetted holiday in many places where it is observed. This means that most government offices and businesses are closed so that practitioners can have the day off work.

In many places where this religious holiday is observed, the occasion is marked by a large celebration and procession. One of the places where this is practiced is in Kolkata at the Parasnath Temple. Most observers of Mahavir Jayanti mark this day with prayer and fasting rituals.

Where is it celebrated?
India (Gazetted holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
April 21 Sunday
Next year (2025)
April 10 Thursday
Last year (2023)
April 4 Tuesday