Monday, August 9, 2010

Sri Krishna Janmashtami – The Birthday Celebration of Lord Krishna

Radha-Krishna Idols
Sri Krishna Janmashtami is the gleeful celebration of the birth of Lord Krishna. Major rituals of the Sri Krishna Janmashtami are performed in the middle of the night, as; Lord Krishna is believed to have been born in that hour. The important rituals of the Sri Krishna Janmashtami celebrations rope in bhajans (devotional songs), fasting and pujas (worshipping).

When is Janmashtami 2010

Krishna Janmashtami in India is held in the month of August or September according to the English calender. Sri Krishna Janmashtami 2010 falls on the 2nd of September. According to the Hindu calendar, Janmastami falls on the 8th day (ashtami) in the month of Savana or Sravana. Janmashtami generally falls on the 8th day after the Raksha Bandhan festival.

Baby Krishna Being Bathed
Legend of Sri Krishna

Lord Sri Krishna is believed to have been born some 5,227 years ago. Detailed stories of Lord Krishna can be found in the ancient Indian scriptures like Puranas. As per the legend of Janmashtami goes, Lord Krishna was born to Vasudev and Devki, who were under the imprisonment of King Kansa, Devki’s evil brother. Kansa killed all of Devki’s and Vasudev’s children one by one, but, Krishna who was born as the 8th child to the couple, was saved by miracle as Vasudev smuggled baby Krishna to Gokul, to be parented by his friend Nand and his wife Yashoda. Later, Lord Krishna grew up to kill his evil maternal uncle Kansa.

Sri Krishna Janmashtami Celebrations

Lord Krishna Temple
The festival of Janmashtami is a two days long celebration. While the first day of the Janmashtami festival in India is called Krishnashtami, the second day is called Kalasthami. Even though the celebrations begin in the morning itself, it reaches its peak in the midnight, when the sacred sounds of hymns, conch blowing, and arti fill the festive air. The idol of Lord Krishna is first bathed in a mixture of ghee, milk, Gangajal, honey and oil – called Panchamrit and then this mixture is accompanied by sweets and distributed as Prasad to the devotees of Lord Krishna.

Ceremony of dahi handi

Dahi Handi
The celebration of Lord Krishna’s birthday includes a number of fun and interesting ceremonies like Jhanki, Raslila and Dahi handi. Dahi handi in Janmashtami is the most popular ceremony. This ceremony is an enactment of the Lord’s effort of stealing butter from an earthen pot called matka. The matka is suspended on a rope tied to high poles or roofs of buildings. This ceremony is performed on the second day of Janmashtami festival in India. The matka is filled with dry fruits, milk, and ghee and is hung with rope at a height of 20 to 30 feet from the ground. The rope is lined with silver coins and is later distributed as prize to the winners who reach the matka and break it.

Rasleela Dancers
Sri Krishna Rasleela

The Janmashtami Rasleela is the divine kreeda or sport which Lord Krishna played in Vrindavan with the gopis or the village belles on the banks of the sacred River Yamuna.

Janmashtami celebrations in different parts of India

Chappan Bhog
Janmashtami is one of the most celebrated festivals of India. Janmashtami in Mathura is majorly celebrated in the Krishna Janma Bhoomi Mandir, where the Lord is worshipped and offered fifty six different dishes called ‘Chhapan Bhog’. Raleelas are performed and Jhankis are placed. The other attractions are Jhulanotsav and ghatas. Janmashtami in Vrindavan starts 7 to 10 days before the actual festival. There are 5000 ancient and modern Krishna temples where the Janmashtami rituals are performed. Devotees keep fast and Krishna rasleela is performed in Vrindavan’s madhuban. Janmashtami in Dwarka is celebrated in the Dwarkadhish temple and the rituals are performed by priests called Aboti Brahmins. The main rituals are mangla arti, banta bhog, mangla arti with Panchamrit, shringar, darshan, shringarbhog, shayan bhog and shayan arti. Janmashtami in Bengal is popularly known as Jhulan or Gupt Vrindavan. During the celebration of Janmashtami in South India, Lord Krishna is offered sweets made of curd and milk called Murukku and Seeddai. Dahi handi holds the major attraction of Janmashtami in Maharashtra and the ritual of Nag-Nathaiya Leela holds the central part of Janmashtami in Uttar Pradesh.

Photo Courtesy: 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.