In Sanskrit, the word "Akshayya" (अक्षय्य) means "imperishable, eternal, the never diminishing" in the sense of "prosperity, hope, joy, success", while Tritiya means "third". It is named after the "third lunar day" of the spring month of Vaisakha in the Hindu calendar, the day it is observed.
In Jainism, it commemorates the first Tirthankara's (Rishabhdev) ending his one-year asceticism by consuming sugarcane juice poured into his cupped hands. Some Jains refer to the festival as Varshi Tapa. Fasting and ascetic austerities are marked by Jains, particularly at pilgrimage sites such as Palitana (Gujarat).
The day is considered auspicious by Hindus and Jains in many regions of India for new ventures, marriages, and any new beginnings. It is also a day of remembrance for the loved ones who have died. The day is regionally significant for women, married or unmarried, who pray for the well being of the men in their lives or the one they may in future get engaged to. After prayers, they distribute germinating gram (sprouts), fresh fruits and Indian sweets. If the Akshayya Tritiya falls on a Monday (Rohini), the festival is believed to be even more auspicious. Fasting, charity and helping others on this day is another festive practice.
In Odisha, it is the day when Hindus begin their annual construction of chariots for the Puri Rath Yatra festivities.