18 – 25 August
Meaning literally ‘abiding’ or ‘coming together’, Paryushan is the most important festival in the Jain calendar. It is a time of reflection, purification and confession for Jains, who take on temporary vows of study and food restriction, as well as practising daily meditation and prayer. Celebrations conclude with Jains confessing for any transgression of the five great vows, asking for forgiveness from all living beings and giving their own in return.
Many Jains take time off from work during Paryushan and impose further restrictions to their already vegetarian diets. Now they also chose to eliminate vegetables like potatoes, onions and garlic, which require the whole plant to be killed rather than just the taking of its fruit. Some Jains choose to fast for the duration of Paryushan Parva, breaking their fast at the end of the festival with a special meal in which they do not touch their food but are instead fed by friends and family in respect of their feat.
Jains are divided into two major sects – the Digambara (sky clad sect) and the Svetambara (white clad sect). For Digambaras, Paryushan lasts for ten days, whilst for Svetambaras, the festival lasts for eight days – there are a few differences in the Paryushan traditions of the two sects.
For more information about Paryushan Parva please click here