Akshya Tritiya

Akshya Tritiya

April-May; third day of the waxing half of the Hindu month of Vaisakha
The Hindu observance of Akshya Tritiya in India combines fasting and festivities. Akshya means "exempt from decay," and the devotions performed on this day are believed to last forever. Hindus fast and worship Vishnu, along with his consort Lakshmi, with holy Ganges water, tulsi or basil leaves, incense, flowers, lamps, and new clothes. Bathing in the Ganges River is a popular way to demonstrate one's devotion. This is also the day on which the mountain passes of Sri Badrinarain in the Himalayas open again after the long, snowy winter.
Svetambaras Jains also fast on the third day of the waxing half of Vaisakha. They call this day Aksaya Tritiya, and it commemorates the fast observed by the first Tirthankara, whose name was Risabha and who was given some sugar cane juice to break his fast. The Svetambaras or "white-clad" Jains are the dominant group in northern India, and they are called this because they believe that monks should be clothed. The other major Jain sect, the Digambaras or "sky-clad" sect, believe that total nudity is required of monks, although Indian law requires that Digambara monks wear a loincloth in public.
SOURCES:
RelHolCal-2004, pp. 168, 195