Akshaya Tritiya is an auspicious festival celebrated in India, associated with wealth, prosperity, and new beginnings. ‘Akshaya’ means ‘imperishable’ or ‘eternal’ in Sanskrit, and Tritiya means ‘the third day.’ Observed on the third day of the Hindu lunar month of Vaishakha, which falls in April or May according to the Gregorian calendar.
Primarily celebrated by the Hindus and Jains, Akshaya Tritiya is also known as Akha Teej and is considered one of the most significant festivals in the Hindu calendar.
The festival has its roots in Hindu mythology, and it is associated with various legends and stories. Hindus believe that on this day, the god Vishnu incarnated as Parashurama, and the goddess Annapurna was born. On the other hand, Jains commemorate when their first Tirthankara, Rishabhdeva, broke his 400-day fast.
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Legends Associated with Akshaya Tritiya
Lord Krishna and Sudama
One of the most popular legends associated with Akshaya Tritiya is the story of Lord Krishna and Sudama. According to the legend, Sudama was a childhood friend of Lord Krishna. Sudama was very poor and wanted to seek Lord Krishna’s help. However, he felt ashamed to ask for help and offered Lord Krishna a handful of rice as a gift when visiting him.
When he met Lord Krishna, he was surprised to see that Lord Krishna had already anticipated his arrival and welcomed him with open arms. Lord Krishna was pleased with Sudama’s gift and blessed him with wealth and prosperity.
People often cite the story as an example of how even a small gift offered with pure intentions can bring great rewards.
The Story of Lord Parashurama
Another legend associates Akshaya Tritiya with the story of Lord Parashurama, an avatar of Lord Vishnu, whom people believe to have been born on this day. Lord Parashurama received his famous axe or “parashu” on Akshaya Tritiya, which he later used as his primary weapon in his battles against the evil forces.
Significance of Akshaya Tritiya
Apart from the religious significance, Akshaya Tritiya is also considered an auspicious day to start new ventures, make investments, and purchase gold. People believe any activity started on this day results in success and prosperity.
The word “Akshaya” in Sanskrit means eternal; anything started today is believed to have an everlasting impact.
The festival is also associated with agriculture and marks the beginning of the farming season in some parts of India. Farmers usually start sowing crops on this day, hoping for a good harvest. The festival is also a time to thank the gods for their blessings and pray for prosperity and wealth.
Akshaya Tritiya is a day for new beginnings. It is also popular for weddings, engagements, and Griha Pravesh (housewarming).
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Celebrations across India
People across India celebrate Akshaya Tritiya with great zeal and enthusiasm.
It goes by different names in different states — Akshaya Trithiya Parvam (Tamil Nadu), Akti (Kerala), Akki Tadige (Karnataka), Akha Teej (Maharashtra) and Akshay Tritiya in the northern states and Bengal so on. But the themes of the celebrations are similar.
Devotees take a dip in the holy river and perform puja at temples. They also offer prayers to their presiding deity (Lord Vishnu, Lord Ganesha, and Goddess Laxmi) and seek blessings for prosperity and success.
On this day, people also donate to the poor and needy. Giving to charity is considered a virtuous act that brings blessings and happiness.
The festival of Akshaya Tritiya reminds us of the importance of gratitude, generosity, and faith in facing life’s uncertainties.