English meaning of the festival
Narsingha means half lion – half man form. Jayanti refers to one who triumphs in the end. Narsingha Jayanti is the day on which Narsingha is celebrated since he is the one who stands victorious despite all the odds.
How the date is decided annually
It is observed on Narsimha Chaturdashi – the fourteenth day of the Shukla paksha (bright half) of the month of Vaishakha.
Significance of the festival to Hinduism
Narsingha Jayanti commemorates when Lord Vishnu appeared in the avatar of half lion and half man to kill demon king Hiranyakashipu. Narsingha is a significant symbol of creative resistance, hope against odds, victory over persecution, and destruction of evil. He is the destructor of not only external evil, but also one’s inner evil of “body, speech, and mind”.
How to observe/practice
Generally, the day is observed with fasting and puja to Sri Narsimha Bhagwan. Devotees bathe before sunrise and wear clean clothing. Fasting should commence from sunrise and continue throughout the day and night until sunrise the next morning. Special worship of Sri Narsimha Bhagwan and Sri Luxmi is undertaken in the evening- just before sunset. The worship should include hawan. It is beneficial to recite/chant the Narsimha mantra – om nrim nrim nrim narsinghaya namah. It is also advisable to do some charity on this day, donating clothing, thil, and grains.