Monday, May 16, 2005

Of Akshaya Tritiya and Thanksgiving

A few days back, it was Akshaya Tritiya time in India. This is the time when everybody throngs gold shops to buy some gold (even if it is only a bit) in the belief that what is bought on that day will lead to "Akshaya" (forever) prosperity. Akshaya Tritiya was not such a popular gold buying event until a few years back and even now, much of the activity is down South India. A little bit of marketing has done the trick leading to this effect in Kerala, which in any case does not need any special reason to buy gold (or sarees).

Akshaya Tritiya or Akha TeeJ is traditionally the birthday of Parshurama, the sixth incarnation of Vishnu. The Puranas tell how he reclaimed land from the sea along the west coast of India by his valour. Akshaya Tritiya is celebrated on the 3rd day of the bright half of Vaishakh, (Tritiya Tithi of Shukla Paksha), when the Sun and Moon are in exaltation, which happens once every year.The word Akshaya means that which never diminishes and new beginnings on this auspicious day are everlasting.

Thus there is a gold buying mania each Akshaya Tritiya day, increasing year after year, and perhaps in due course, become the Indian equivalent of Thanksgiving shopping.

4 comments:

Julien said...

This is one of your earlier posts but I found it quite interesting. Do you see that people have changed a lot of their behavior during Akshaya Trithiya? Has it become more commercial? Has it become more pan Indian?

Neelakantan said...

It is definitely a lot more commercial, driven by jewellery stores. Pan Indian - guess not. My dad was surprised to see the hype here, while in Bombay it is almost non existent.

Julien said...

When you say here do you mean Bangalore?

I thought this was mostly a Chennai-based phenomenon. But I also read that people in Hyderabad , Bangalore, Mangalore, Kerala were getting into it.

Neelakantan said...

I guess Akshaya tritiya is biggest in Bangalore/Karnataka - but then I am not so aware of Chennai. Kerala needs no excuse to buy gold, so this is one more reason I guess. Hyderabad, well, to a certain extent.

Pan Indian, no, but Pan South India surely yes.