Those who follow the Jain religion know that Paryushana is one of the most important days of the year. In 2019 it began on Tuesday, August 27 and it will end tomorrow, on Tuesday, September 3. Jains are in the midst of an unusually strong week-long commitment to a combination of fasting and prayer to place emphasis on their five most important vows: ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truth), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (chastity), and aparigraha (non-possession).
Those in the Svetambaras sect call is Paryushana, which means abiding or coming together, and celebrate for eight days. Those in the Digambaras sect call it Das Lakshan Dharma and celebrate for ten days.
All those who celebrate this event enjoy “forgiveness day,” or Samvatsari/Kshamavani at the festival’s conclusion.
During their period of fasting, Jains will stay away from a number of different food items: potatoes, onions, green veggies, garlic, etc. What can they eat? Here are a few things you might try — even if you aren’t Jain!
Daal-Baati consists of small balls of flour dough baked to perfection in a tandoor oven. The butter-flavored dish is served with lentils.
Instant Rava Dhokla is more of a breakfast food made with rava, curd, oil, and salt.
Last but not least, Jains often break their fast with Panchkuta ki Sabzi, and is composed of five main ingredients: Ker, Amchur, Sangri, Kumati, and Gunda.
Chana Moon Dal Dhokli is spiced flour dumplings and is served with lentils.
Strained yogurt, or Shrikhand, might be substituted for dessert.
During the festival Jains will read the sacred texts, focusing on the ten righteous virtues, which are: Uttam Kshama (forbearance), Uttam Mardava (supreme modesty), Uttam Aarjava (straightforwardness), Uttam Satya (truth), Uttam Soch (purity), Uttam Sanyam (supreme restraint), Uttam Tap (austerity), Uttam Tyaga (renunciation), Uttam Aakinchanya (non-attachment), and Uttam Brahmcharya (supreme celibacy).
Jain monks are especially devoted to these particular principles.
For the Digambaras, one of these ten righteous virtues are studied in full on a single day of the festival, the goal being to complete them all by the time it’s over. This study must be performed once every year, but it can be completed during other holidays as well — like Shukla Panchami to Chaturdashi of Bhadrapada, etc.
When the festival ends, Jains will beg one another for forgiveness for all the wrongs they did in the previous twelve months. The ritual begins by saying the words “Micchami Dukkadam”/”Uttam Kshama,” both of which roughly translate to: “If I have caused you offense in any way, knowingly or unknowingly, in thought, word, or deed, then I seek your forgiveness.”