A pious festival denoting the advent of Lord Krishna, Krishna Janamashtmi is celebrated with much pomp throughout the Indian continent. Considered as the 8th incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Lord Krishna was born from Devki and Vasudeva in the jail of King Kansa at Mathura. As the heavenly voice predicted that the 8th child of Devki will kill King Kansa, he was cruel enough to kill the 7 children of Devki. Luckily, at the time of Lord Krishna’s birth, the attendants in jail slept automatically and Vasudeva took the child towards the home of Yashoda in Vrindavan. There, Lord Krishna was brought up by Mother Yashoda and he happened to fell in love with Radha Rani. Then, on attaining the age of youth, Lord Krishna went back to Mathura and fought King Kansa to kill him in the last.
The festival of Krishna Janamashtmi depicts the advent of the Savior, who has adorned the lap of Mother Earth to save her from evils. Certainly, the Lord Krishna came to save the people from the wrath of King Kansa and sprinkle everlasting happiness. With various forms of celebrations going everywhere in India, children are made to dress as Lord Krishna and Radha. The boys happen to be the representative of Lord Krishna wearing “Angarakha Kurta” and Dhoti; while, the small girls wear beaded Lehenga Choli. After all, this festival is meant to make the world happy.
On the occasion of Janmashtami, girls and ladies both alike are excited to wear ethnic dresses and look their best. Some women prefer wearing traditional sarees instead of dresses. These sarees add serenity to the occasion. While going for Pooja, women prefer wearing dresses and sarees to look their best. On the other end, the men wear smart dresses with dhoti and kurta in bright shades. This marks the joy and heightened happiness in their hearts for the festival.
Known to be the festival of Hindu Clan, the festival of Krishna Janamashtmi is celebrated on the 8th day of Krishna Paksha in the Shravan month of Hindu calendar. Prior to one of two days of the actual festival, the temples having an idol of Lord Krishna and Radha Rani are richly decorated. Well, the decorations are made with flowers, artificial fruits, bright colored cloth pieces and the most important is that of Rangoli made of colors as well as flower petals. On this special day, the specialized swings are decorated with the string of flowers and leaves. In this swing, the idol of Ladoo Gopal (Child version of Lord Krishna) is placed. The shape of the idol is in accordance with the size of the swing.
Generally, the people happen to decorate the small temples in their home that has the idol of Lord Krishna. After decorating the swing, a thin rope or a string of flowers is tied to the front of the swing; so that the devotees can make the Lord Krishna swig on. As the special day comes, temples are opened for the whole day; so as to allow the devotees worship Lord Krishna. The general Pooja takes place in the evening and the specialized one happens as the clock struck 12 midnight. Before the special Pooja, hymns are sung in the praise of Lord Krishna and the actors depict the scene of Krishna Rasleela too. These hymns are continued till the 12 midnight and as the time comes, special “Aarti” is done for Lord Krishna. Along with this, the parshad of Makhan and Mishri is distributed among the devotees. The celebrations are ended with exclusive fireworks lit to exhibit the joy within at the advent of Lord Krishna.
Celebrating Krishna Janamashtmi in Different Parts of India:
Every state represents it in a special manner and celebrates it as per their specified traditional practices. Basically, the festival of Krishna Janamashtmi tends to represent the birth of Goodness to beat away Evil Practices prevailing around.
Famous worldwide as the place of upbringing, the festival is exquisitely celebrated in Vrindavan’s Banke Bihari temple. Here, a thorne made of gold and silver is placed in the main hall. The Idol of Banke Bihari Ji is brought out of its actual place and made to sit on the throne for a closer look by the devotees. At midnight, Maha Abhishek is conducted by the Pandits, wherein the idol is bathed with milk, curd and ghee. This ceremonial sanctum is not open for the general public. After the bath, the idol of Lord Krishna is decorated with clothes and fine jewellery. On completion, he is brought to sit on the thrown and Darshan is opened for the public at 2AM in the morning.
The culture of breaking the earthen pots filled with Makhan is quite common because the group of boys makes a pyramid to break it. This process is called as “Dahi Handi” celebration.
The temple of Dwarkadheesh is beautifully decorated and the Jhulanotsava as well as Ghatas celebration takes place. When it comes to the Ghata celebrations, all the deities in the temple are richly beautified in the same colored clothes. Generally, the procession with the idols of Lord Krishna, Lord Shiva and Lord Hanuman takes place. At some areas, the actors happen to depict the characters in the procession. Another thing taking place in the different lanes is that of “Dahi Handi”. Here, the earthen pots filled with Makhan or Curd is broken by the groups of boys by making a pyramid.
3. Puri of Odisha and Nabadwip of West Bengal:
Here, the festival of Krishna Janamashtmi is celebrated by fasting for the whole day and worshipping the Lord till midnight. The Gurus in the temple happens to recite Purana Pravachana from Bhagvat Gita to tell the story of Lord Krishna’s birth and the purpose behind it. On the other day of Janamashtmi, Nanda Utsav is celebrated and the fast is broken by eating sweets.
The richness of this festival is also spread in the North Eastern part of Indian with Assam celebrating it. On this beautiful day, the Assamese or Namghars tends to do Puja, share the food with people and distribute the Prasad.
5. Tamil Nadu:
At this special day, the people decorate the floors of their home with Kolams (Decorative designs created with the batter of rice). The religious hymns are sung in the praise of Lord Krishna. Along with this, the footprints of Lord Krishna are made from the threshold of the house towards temple. This marks the advent of Lord Krishna in the house. And the recitation of Bhagvat Gita is done. Finally, after doing the Puja, sweets are distributed to the people.
The happiness and a scenic atmosphere prevail everywhere in India; especially Mathura and Vrindavan as they are associated with Lord Krishna. The beauty of the festival is that it enables the various states of Indian Continent to celebrate the occasion in a special and traditional manner.