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Shri Krishna Janamashtmi festival

KRISHNA JANMASHTAMI: CELEBRATING KRISHNA'S COLORFUL FACETS OF LIFE

Place of Merriment: All India, particularly, Mathura, Dwarka and Varanasi

Remember your childhood days enacting special skits of Lord Krishna and Radha? How about listening to naughty pranks played by Bal Krishna with gopis? Well, the stories of Lord Krishna are immortal in the life of every Indian. That's why; Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated grandly in all Krishna temples. The real festive mood of Krishna Janmashtami is rejoiced in Mathura, Dwarka and Varanasi.

Meaning of Krishna Janmashtami

Janmasthami commemorate the birthday of Lord Krishna. It falls on the eighth day (Asthami) during the month of Shravan (August-September). Normally, it falls a day after Raksha Bandhan. Janmashtami is celebrated for two days. The first day celebrates the birthday of Lord Krishna with special fast, prayers and devotional songs. The second day is celebrated 'Gokul Asthami' or 'Dahi-Handi'

Janmasthami Festival

Midnight Merriment

The main 'Janmasthami' festivities begin at midnight. This is the actual time that Lord Krishna was born. There are hymns, aarti, blowing of the conch and cradle rocking. A miniature size idol of Krishna is bathed with Panchamrit which is a made by ghee, oil, milk, honey and Gangajal.

Janmasthami Fast

Ardent devotees of Lord Krishna keep a special 'Janmasthami' fast for two days. Normally, they stay away from all kinds of foodstuff. They prefer to have milk and milk products, as they are favorite item of Krishna. They break this fast at midnight. Some of them keep 'Nirjal' fast, where they fast without a single drop of water.

Chanting of Krishna's Mantra

Devotees chant mantras and sholkas all day long during Janmasthami to please the lord. They highlight his feats and his divine characteristics. The ritual of Chanting 108 names of Lord Krishna is one more ritual that takes place in many temples. The popular mantra is 'Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna'

MELODIOUS KRISHNA BHAJANS AND DANCE

Devotees sing with her hearts singing bhajans in the praise of Lord Krishna. Singing Bhajans till the midnight is the custom during the festival. They also dance to depict various episodes of Lord Krishna.

Krishna Leela-Enactment of Krishna's Journey

In places like Gokul, Mathura and Vrindavan, special plays are performed by both professional and amateur theatre groups based on Krishna' birth and his childhood days.

Janmashtami Sweets

According to legend, Lord Krishna loved milk and milk products like butter and buttermilk. He used to relish sweets like kheer, pedhas etc. Therefore devotees all over make sweets during the festival to please the Lord.

Dahi Handi

This usually takes place on the second day of Janmashtami. On this day, an earthen pot containing a mixture of milk, dry fruits, ghee is hung around 20-30 feet high in the air with the help of a rope. Winner used to get the Silver coins which is hung along with the rope, it is distributed amongst them. Young men with full of enthusiasm, make a human pyramid by standing one on top of the other, to break the pot. They all sing the popular 'Ala re ala, Govinda ala' during the ceremony of pot breaking.

Janmashtami Tableau

This is an important festive feature of Janmashtami. Known as Jhanki (tableau) and cribs depicting various stages of Lord Krishna's childhood. These are miniature representation of a village made of clay, humans are represented by dolls dressed up as kids, men and women with lehangas, chunnis, dhotis and kurtas.

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