Its interesting to see two religions (Jainism and Islam) so close to each other. While today is the last day of Paryushan (for the Jains), the day also marks the beginning of Ramadan (for the Muslims). Today is almost like a holy communion of two great faiths which appear to be far from each other in their thoughts, but surprisingly have enough meeting ground as well.
Paryushan - broadly means "abiding" or "coming together" while Ramadan is derived from old Arabic which meant 'intense heat, scorched ground and shortness of rations'. Both the festivals start with fasting and end with a major festival on the final day (something not uncommon in Hindu festivals as well).
Festival of Paryushan ordains the Jains to observe the universal supreme virtues in daily practical life with meditation and prayer which also provides an opportunity for looking within and towards the teachings of the Tirthankars for the guidance. Its a period of abstinence from worldly pleasures. Similarly, during Ramadan Muslims ask forgiveness for past sins, pray for guidance and help in refraining from everyday evils, and try to purify themselves through self-restraint and good deeds.
But this is just information. I was talking with a friend who is a Jain while waiting for another who is a Muslim, and realised how close these two are in their thoughts during this period of fasting. Fasting gave joy to both of them, and they both had more energy during this period though they ate much less.
For one its the last day, while for the other its a beginning. And today is the day that they share...and I share it too because I am making this unusual connection. Perhaps, we can connect most festivals with one another based on the thoughts associated and not disassociate them because of the difference in the faith of people practicing them.
I took help from the blog of my friend for some information on Paryushan.