Jains Parade To Celebrate Those Who Fast, Lord’s Birthday

Hundreds of members of the Jain Center of New Jersey paraded down Cedar Grove Lane April 18 top honor some of their fellow members who have participated in a year-long fast.

Jainism is an ancient Indian religion that stresses nonviolence and vegetarianism. There are about 1,800 members of the Jain Center, which opened in 2008.

The parade – or varghodo – is meant to honor the 16 members of the community – known as Tapasvi – who performed various forms of fasting, said Barthiv Shah, a member of the center.

The fasting lasted for 13 months and 13 days, said Prashant Shah, also a member of the center.

The 16 people were taken from the parade’s starting point, the Masjid-e-Ali mosque, up Cedar Grove Lane to the Jain Center on two floats.

The members who fasted would “only drink warm water one day and eat two times between sunrise and sunset and again fast with only warm water,” said Parthiv Shah.

“After completing the fasting, they will drink sugar cane juice,” he said. “That’s how they break the fast.”

The parade is part of a five-day celebration of the birthday of Lord Mahavir Janma Kalyanak, the last of the Jain’s gods and lords.

The rest of the celebration will be held inside the Jain Center, and will include dinners and various programs.

2015 Jain Center Parade



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