Janmashtami is celebrated to mark the birth of Lord Sri Krishna. This festival is a very popular event in India and worldwide. The devotees of Lord Krishna solemnise this festival with lots of joy and enthusiasm. All beautiful decorative efforts are done for making this festival look wonderful and extremely spectacular.
Festivity for over Two Days:
Janmashtami festivities continue for two consecutive days. Most important time is on reaching its peak at midnight after first day. Lord Krishna was born around this hour. Thus, his birth is the blessed even and celebrated as Bhagwan Krishna’s birth with zeal. The celebration takes place in almost all states of India. Since Mathura was the birth place of Lord Krishna, Janmashtami is famous and particularly celebrated. Also, Janmashtami is observed as special occasion in states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.
Celebrated with Splendour:
Janmashmati is also known as Sri Krishnashtami. This festival is celebrated with a lot of pomp and glory. At the midnight ritual, Lord Krishna’s deity is bathed using Panchamrit [mixture of ghee, honey, milk, curd and Gangajal]. Thereafter, the cradle along with the Lord is rocked. The devotees fast the whole day. They break their fast only after the birth of Bhagwan Krishna around midnight. The devotees sing devotional songs or bhajans and hymns. These are accompanied by dancing in praise of their favourite ‘Makhan Chor’. The aarti is performed by blowing conch and ringing the bells. Also, there is an elaborate Puja [Prayer] followed by ceremonies in honour of Bhagwan Krishna. After the birth ceremony is over, prasad is distributed among devotees.
Environment of Euphoria and Glee:
Janmashtami celebration brings great joy and happiness to all the devotees of Lord Krishna. There is loads of ongoing fun activities that keep the followers engaged. The devotees get engrossed in divine songs and dances performed to praise Lord Krishna. The colourful Rasleela [plays] performed by devotees depict significant phases and acts of Lord’s life. These create a serene atmosphere amongst all who pray as one to their beloved God.
Janmashtami Special Dishes:
Lord Krishna was liked sweets, milk and milk products such as butter and buttermilk. Hence, the devotees prepare sweets made of milk and other products to commemorate the occasion. Sweetmeats such as Doodhachi Kheer, Pedha, Gopalkala and Gulabjamun are prepared on Sri Krishnashtami. In addition, in some households Shrikhand and Singhare ki Poori are also made. In Tamil Nadu, southern state of India, eatable like Murukku and Seeddai are popular.
Jhulanotsava and Ghata Celebrations:
During Janmashtami, in north India, there is a very popular ritual known as ‘Jhulanotsava’. This tradition is mainly in Mathura, the ancient city and birth place of Lord Krishna. The occasion is about hanging Jhulas [swings] in court yards of temples and houses. Also, there is another distinguished ritual of Janmashtami known as ‘Ghatas’ that last for a month. According to the Ghatas, during the entire month, a particular colour is selected as theme. This same theme colour is used to adorn the entire temple. Even the clothes of the Lord Krishna are made with the same colour.
Dahi Handi, Raslila, Jhankis:
Janmashtami celebration or Sri Krishna’s birth is incomplete without Raslila [Dance Drama]. These dramas are extremely popular and joyful. These dance dramas are performed in dance form. The stories are enacted events or incidents of Lord Krishna’s life. When the Raslila performance is good the devotees are transformed to age of Lord Krishna. This sort of experience is absolutely mesmerizing.
In Mumbai, a popular ritual called Dahi Handi brings fanfare and joy to all devotees. The young men form a human pyramid for breaking the Handi [Earthen Pot]. This pot is suspended from the top with the help of a rope. The onlookers throw water on the boys and thereby there is a lot of excitement. The water is of course thrown in order to prevent the boys from breaking Handi.
Jhankis [tableaux] are mostly cribs and other decorations. These depict the entire life of Lord Krishna commencing from his birth. There is wide range of variety of Jhankis namely birth of Lord Krishna in jail. Others are Vasudev, father of Lord Krishna, leaving the jail and taking Krishna to Nand. Also, River Yamuna in floods finally bowing to the feet of Lord and making way. Exchange of Krishna with the baby girl and others. These are a few examples of the Jhankis.
Janmashtami is celebrated with fervour all over India. Hinduism has spread outside India so it is celebrated with same emotions all over the World.