SUNDAY, MAY 16: More than any other day of the year, Hindus perform sacred deeds today, on Akshaya Tritiya (spellings vary). Many Hindus consider Akshaya Tritiya to be auspicious in many phases of life, and in Sanskrit, the day means “never diminishing.” Besides beginning new ventures and making significant investments, Hindus honor the birthday of Lord Parasurama today, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. (Wikipedia has details.) Lord Sri Balaram’s jayanti is also recognized, as the elder brother of Lord Krishna, although most of the festival is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Devotees believe that worshipping Lord Vishnu on Akshaya Tritiya erases one’s sins and frees one from sorrow. Hindus point out that that the sun and moon are most radiant and best placed on this day, and therefore it is a day whose ventures and investments grow. Gold dealers and jewelers do a booming business in India and other Hindu communities today, selling gold and diamonds to thousands of Hindus. (HinduPad has more.) According to Hindu mythology, it is also on this day that Treta Yuga began and the most sacred Ganges River descended to Earth from heaven.
The auspiciousness of Akshaya Tritiya makes it the most popular day for weddings, although this year, astrologers say this won’t be the case; in fact, according to the Times of India, there will be no weddings this year! After almost 100 years of auspicious days, planetary conjunctions are “not good at this time,” said a Delhi astrologer for Times.
This year’s Akshaya Tritiya may also see a shift in gold purchases, as the price of gold has risen significantly. (The Economic Times has an article.) According to Reuters, gold prices are lingering around their lifetime highs, and although gold-buying always increases around Akshaya Tritiya, purchases by comparison to other years may drop by more than half.
Akshaya Tritiya is a holy day in the Jain calendar, too.
(By ReadTheSpirit columnist Stephanie Fenton)
(NOTE: To see more short articles about upcoming holidays, festivals and anniversaries, click the “RTS Magazines” tab at the top of this page and select “Religious Holidays.”)