One of the most prominent Jain festivals is known as Paryushan Parva and is celebrated every year between August and September. This festival promotes empowering lessons for how we all can live in better harmony with ourselves, the living beings around us, and the environment that we reside in.
During the festivities, devotees ponder their inner peace and well-being, reflecting on the importance of their spiritual happiness. They immerse into a period of deep thought and meditation where they ask for forgiveness for past misdeeds, fast to reflect their sacrifice in cleansing themselves and reaffirming the positive values of living in tranquility with others. The important principle of this celebration is Ahimsa: live and help others live.
On the last day of the festival, each person asks for forgiveness for any direct or indirect faults that may have affected others. Each person also receives these sentiments of forgiveness from others who may have done wrong to them during the past year. This mutual, unconditional understanding brings the community closer as family, friends and associates all align together with friendliness to all and hatred to none.
I believe this festival is a great way for people to connect with others and use the powerful expression of forgiveness to affirm an environment of harmony. By seeking the desire to cleanse oneself, devotees are able to spread the presence of Jainism to others and foster a greater sense of peace among our community around us.