Krishna Janmashtami

Krishna Janmashtami is a holiday in the Hindu calender that celebrates the birthday of Krishna. The festival is widely celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm in India. It takes place in the month of July or August; and according to the Hindu calender, it is celebrated on the Ashtami of Krishna Paksh, the day of the dark fortnight in Bhadon month. Sri Krishna is believed to be born on a stormy, windy and dark night, ending the rule and violence of his uncle, Kansa. Thus, the main celebration of Janmashtami takes place during the midnight. The festival is celebrated all over India with devotional songs and dances, pujas, arti, blowing of the Conch and rocking the cradle of baby Sri Krishna.

It is not known for sure when Krishna Janmashtami originated. One would cross through many legendary stories about the birth of Janmashtami. Among all the legends and stories, the widely accepted story is that Krishna is the eighth incarnation of the supreme god Vishnu. Some Hindus worship Krishna as the supreme deity, as he is one of the most powerful human incarnations of the Lord Vishnu. He was born 5200 years ago in Mathura.

Before his birth, the kingdom of Mathura was under the rule of King Kansa. The merciless king married his sister Princess Devaki to Vasudeva with much splendor. Suddenly, there was a prophecy that the eight son of Devaki and Vasudev would be the cause of King Kansa’s death. As a result, he threw Devaki and Vasudev into the prison. He killed all their six children. However, the seventh child who was informed to be miscarried was mystically transferred to the womb of Princess Rohini. On the day of Lord Krishna’s birth, the Gods guided Vasudev, so he carried the baby to Vrindavan. Although it was a night of frightening thunderstorm, Vasudev kept walking and made it to Vrindavan.

The major purpose of the birth of Sri Krishna was to liberate the Earth from the evilness of demons. It is believed that Lord Vishnu comes to save the humanity from any evil action. Whenever there is any imbalance in the universe regarding peace, Lord Krishna will reincarnate in various looks to show the path of peace to people. Thus, Krishna is the epitome of love, faith, friendship, and peace. People celebrate the festival to strengthen the principles of unity.

Krishna Janmashtami Festival is one of the biggest festivals in the Hindu religion. The festival lasts for 2 days in late summer. On the first day, called Krishan Ashtami, Hindus rise before dawn to engage in song and prayer in the honor of Krishna. Some Hindus fast in Krishna’s honor; some also celebrate with dances and having dramatic rituals, telling the story of Krishna’s birth and life. The main rituals are held until midnight, due to the belief of Lord Krishna being born at night. As a part of the traditions, Hindus sometimes bathe and dress statues of the baby Krishna to celebrate his birth.

On the second day, called Janam Ashtami, Hindus will break their fast of the previous day with meals that often contain milk or cheese curds, two of Krishna’s favorite foods. There is an event associated with the second day of the festival, called Dahi Handi. Lord Krishna was named “Makhanchor” as a kid, which means the one who steals butter. Dahi Handi is an event where the same butter stealing activity is narrated. A pot is filled with butter, dry fruits and milk is hang at a considerable height with help of ropes. Then all the local young guys gather and form a human pyramid and climb on each other, reach the pot and break it. This activity imparts the principles of team work.

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