Festivals bring joy and happiness in our life. There are different festivals celebrated all over the world.
Even if the festival might be only for a particular religion, the joy and happiness is spread among all. Festivals bring harmony among everyone in spite of the differences.
Every festival has its own history and story behind its celebration. They help us to know about our roots and culture. Festivals bring family and friends together. People who stay away from their families unite during the festivals.
Janmashtami is an important festival in India. This festival is celebrated even in other parts of the world. There is fun and enjoyment in celebrating this festival.
What is Janmashtami?
This festival is celebrated by the Hindus for the birth of Lord Krishna. It is also known as Gokulashtami, Krishna Janmashtami, Srikrishna Jayanti etc.
There are many incarnations of Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna is the most powerful from all of them.
Janmashtami is celebrated on the eighth day after the full moon of Shravana according to the Hindu calendar. This is festival is famous for dahi handi and rasleela in different parts of the country.
This year Janmashtami will be celebrated on 2nd September.
History of Janmashtami
The reason why Janmashtami is celebrated dates back to centuries. The festival celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna. Krishna was the son of Devaki and Vasudeva.
On the day when Devaki and Vasudeva got married, Kansa (Devaki’s brother) learnt that the child of his sister Devaki would kill him for his evil doings. Kansa was frustrated by this news. So, he put them in prison.
When his sister gave birth to a child, he would kill all of them whenever they were born.
But when Devaki was pregnant for the seventh time, the baby was miraculously carried to Princess Rohini in Vrindavan.
But the soldiers thought that it was a miscarriage. Kansa was happy hearing this news.
On the eighth day of Shravana, there was a heavy storm and then Devaki was pregnant with the eighth child.
At that moment Lord Vishnu came in front of them and told them to take the eighth child to Gokul and replace him with a girl child. He returned back to the prison.
The soldiers and Kansa came to know about the new child. But he did not know that Vasudeva had replaced the child. When Kansa tried to kill that child who was a baby girl, the baby slipped from his hand.
Then Goddess Durga appeared to them. She told to Kansa by trying to kill a baby girl he showed his valour. He will soon be punished by his destroyer. His destroyer was born and was safe in Gokul.
Thus, Krishna was born to destroy all the demons on the earth. He killed Kansa, the king of Mathura and brought peace and prosperity in the village.
Krishna had special powers with him which can be seen from the time of his birth itself. When he was born, all the soldiers were in deep sleep and he was kept safe by his father in spite of the heavy stormy that night.
Even after his birth, Krishna saved the people and helped them.
This made the people that he was a form of God. People have deep faith on him and are greatly devoted to him. So, they celebrate the birth of Krishna in a grand way.
The places where Krishna spent his childhood are famous for the celebration of Janmashtami.
Celebration of Janmashtami
The festival of Janmashtami starts with fasting for Lord Krishna. Celebration starts from midnight itself as Krishna was born at night.
The believers of Lord Krishna sing hymns dedicated to him. On this day, all the Krishna temples are beautifully decorated and the priests chant bhajans of Lord Krishna.
Small children dress up as baby Krishna. On this day, a small beautiful cradle is made to depict Lord Krishna.
The baby who is dressed as Krishna is bathed and dressed in a new attire. Then, the people perform puja and celebrate.
People who celebrate this festival give sweets to each other. People celebrate this festival by playing dahi handi and rasleela.
In Rasleela, people perform skit on Krishna’s life and his love for Radha. In Dahi Handi, curd is kept in a decorated pot with beautiful flowers.
This pot is hung in the middle of the compound. People hold competitions to break this pot, take the curd and win the prize for breaking the pot.
People gather from different places to take part in this competition. They form a pyramid like structure and the person who is on the top breaks the top.
Sometimes, the groups try again and again to break the hot as they keep falling in order to make a tall pyramid.
Dahi handi is inspired from Lord Krishna as he used to steal the curd and share with his friends. The festival is all about getting together and celebrating the birth of Krishna.
Importance of Janmashtami
Lord Krishna is believed to be the reincarnation of Lord Vishnu. He was sent by Lord Vishnu to save the world from the demons. His special powers can be seen when he was born.
Due to these special powers, he was taken safely from the prison to Gokul. His win over his uncle Kansa who was a demon reflects to us humans that we should always adapt to good deed and refrain from the evil doings.
The festival unites the people. We should learn from it that we must stay together always. Unity within us will help us to overcome any evil. Our life is filled with darkness.
We have jealousy, greed, anger etc within ourselves.
As Lord Krishna was born at night and all the darkness vanished, we humans believe that even from our life the darkness goes away.
Janmashtami may be celebrated in many ways by the people all over the world. But it is important to see if we are dedicated to Lord Krishna or is it just a show off.
The world celebrates so many festivals by different religions. But all of them teach us to stay together and be united. We should always stay away from evil things.