24 August, 2019 (Shravana)
Lord Krishna was the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu and the festival of Janmashtami commemorate the birthday of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna was born to Devaki and Vasudeva to rid the people from the wrath of King Kansa, who was Devaki’s brother. In the later part of his life, he also helped the Pandavas to win the battle of Kurukshetra and giving the highest knowledge of the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna on the battlefield.
Devotees often observe fast on the first day of the festival, usually until midnight, when Lord Krishna is believed to have been born. At midnight, special prayers are offered at temples with special baby cradles installed along with small Krishna statues. During the day, devotees spend their time at temples chanting the lord’s name and singing about the glory of the lord.
In parts of Maharashtra and Gujarat, the festival of Janmashtami is celebrated with the sport of Dahi Handi. Special clay pots containing butter, curd and money are suspended from buildings and young boys form human pyramids to break the pot, which is at the height of about 30ft from the ground. There is a competition amongst the various teams as to who is going to break the handi first. The celebration of Dahi handi represents Lord Krishna’s love for curd and butter and there are several stories from his childhood of him being mischievously naughty and stealing butter as part of his games along with his friends. Given the Lord’s mischievous antics the butter would be hung high up so that he could not reach it.
During the festival, you can expect a lot of chanting and pujas along with the fun and games with young boys and girls dressing up as the lord in his younger days. The festival is celebrated across the country with much zeal, especially in Mathura where Lord Krishna was born.