India is a land of religious festivals, extravagant culture marked with several rituals and traditions. The country takes pride in hosting celebrations marked with entertainment, devotion and glory. Today is one of the auspicious occasions in India, the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna. The date is marked in the Hindu calendar as Janmashtami.
Janmashtami is celebrated annually in India to commemorate and respect the Lord; offering prayers and seeking blessings. The entire day is spent in adorning the idol of Lord Krishna with colourful attire, flowers, trinkets etc. Devotional songs are hymned by the devotees; spreading an air of purity and eternity across the environment.
Hindu calendar states that Lord Krishna was born on the day 8 of Krishna Paksha; the fading moon in the month of Shravan. Shravan is a word in the colloquial language; implies the monsoon month. He arrived in the world to protect the humans from the atrocities of the demon king called Kansa.
Born to parents Vasudeva and Devaki in prison; the infant Krishna was skillfully escorted out of the prison by his father. His father braved all the odds; and placed his son under the protective care of Yashoda and Nanda. The young Krishna was nurtured and groomed by them as their own son. After a few years, he engaged in a fight with the monster Kansa and defeated him. Hindu mythology states this tale with proud; proclaiming the victory of the Lord over the demons.
Janmashtami is celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm in different parts of India. The pandemic has forced people to celebrate in their respective residences. Else the temples of Lord Krishna are crowded by devotees worshipping and waiting to catch a glimpse of the Lord. They seek blessings from the Lord to wash off their sins and protect them from any evils.
The interesting part is the celebrations are held outside India with the same amount of fun and enjoyment. Countries like Malaysia, Canada and a few countries in Europe join hand in hand with India to celebrate the auspicious festival.
Lord Krishna had a special fascination for stealing butter and consuming it. He was adorably named as “Makhan Chor” (Makhan – Butter, Chor – Thief); the reason being his craze for butter. His devotees offer butter and prepare various sweets, part of the celebrations. People resort to fasting as a mark of devotion and respect to the Lord.
Little kid boys are dressed and decked up to resemble the little Krishna or Bal Krishna. It is a pleasant experience to watch the little ones in colourful traditional clothes, giggling away in happiness.
Worshipping the Lord
The main puja or worship happens at midnight. The reason being the Lord was born at midnight. The night chimes with the melodious devotional songs and hymns sung by the devotees. The temples and the residences are adorned with bright illuminated lights, chimes, trinkets, colourful papers, lanterns, flowers etc. People greet each other and are ushered with gifts and sweets. It is traditional to wear new festive clothes; and offer puja to the Lord.
The Dance Dramas and Playful Acts
A popular attraction in Janmashtami is the Dahi Handi. It is sort of a game or you can say a playful act by a group of young boys or men. An earthen pot or Handi is tied to a string and placed higher up above the ground. The pot is filled with butter, milk, ghee, and dry fruits. The boys or the men form a human pyramid; the person at the top breaks the Handi to end the act.
Several dramas and acts are performed by theatre artists, folk singers or dancers; showcasing the life of Lord Krishna and his superpowers. The popular among them being Ras Leela; portraying the incidents of his life starting from childhood, teenager and as an adult.
Places in India famous for celebrating Janmashtami
Janmashtami is celebrated in all over India; yet there are few places which conduct huge arrangements for the festival. It is a spectacular experience to witness the remarkable cultural event in these places.
The birthplace of Lord Krishna booms with liveliness and grandness. The entire city is embellished with lights, diyas, lanterns; enticing the devotees and the tourists from all over India. International tourists are found in huge numbers. Pujas are held in the temples; flocked by a massive number of people offering their prayers. Songs, dances and dramas are held throughout the city to mark the occasion.
A part of Lord Krishna’s childhood was spent in Gokul. The town is symbolic in the sense of witnessing the superpowers of the child Krishna; that spread across the universe. The unique combination of the festive décor and the natural beauty enhances the charm of the place. After birth, he was placed under the guardianship of Nanda and Yashoda at Gokul; the reason Janmashtami being named as Gokulashtami.
The city is the place where Lord Krishna spent his childhood. There are approximately 4000 temples in this beautiful city. Janmashtami celebrations are performed in full enthusiasm. The entire city along with the temples are illuminated with the decors and lights. People buy new clothes, decorate their houses, prepare sweets, dance and sing in enjoyment. A 10-day long festival is held with fairs, dramas being enacted at various parts of the city.
Lord Krishna was the king of Dwarka. The city celebrates Janmashtami through the Garba Dance events. People are seen performing Ras Leela, chanting the devotional songs and hymns and adorning their houses. The temples perform the pujas of the Lord at midnight; devotees crowding in huge numbers. It is considered to be one of the blessed sites among the Hindus.
The pandemic has reduced the vibrancy of the celebrations. Yet the devotion in the hearts of his devotees are the same. Happy Janmashtami!!
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