Remembrance and Celebration

John E. Cort

in Jains in the World

Published in print July 2001 | ISBN: 9780195132342
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834112 | DOI:
 						Remembrance and Celebration

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Provides a detailed description of the many festivals that constitute the Jain religious year. The most intense period of community observance is the four‐month rainy season retreat (caturmasa), when all mendicants must cease their travels and reside in one place, thereby allowing for extended interaction with the laity. One high point of the retreat is Paryusan; it involves the public recitation of the Kalpa Sutra (which contains biographies of the Jinas, the history of the early mendicant lineages, and the basic mendicant rules), the celebration of Mahavira's birth, and rituals of expiation for all the karmically harmful deeds, words, and thoughts of the previous year. The other high point is the new year festival of Divali (Diwali), when Jain merchants start their annual account books, and all lay Jains engage in rituals designed to ensure a maximum of worldly well‐being for the coming year.

Keywords: caturmasa; Divali; Diwali; festival; Paryusan; religious year; rainy season retreat

Chapter.  20687 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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