India is all set to celebrate Krishna Janamshtami on 24th August 2019. Krishna Janamashtami is one of the many festivals which is celebrated with a lot of fun and frolic throughout the nation. Janamashtami is the grand occasion of the birth of Lord Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Lord Krishna was born at midnight on the eighth day of the holy month of Shravana. Places like Mathura and Vrindavan start the preparations of the festival many days before. Lord Krishna spent his formative years at Mathura and Vrindavan, and his stories of him spending his childhood here are narrated today across major pandals in Mathura and Vrindavan.
Later, Lord Krishna started living in Dwarika, Gujarat where he was the king popular by the name Dwarkadheesh or the King of Dwarika. Devotees in Dwarika celebrate the festival in high spirits, they light up the temples of Dwarika and prepare mouth watering bhog and Prasad for the deities who visit the temple on this day. Other than this, the devotees all across the country celebrate the festival in their own way.
From the stories of his birth, courage and childhood celebrations to his fondness for food, Lord Krishna is one of the most loved and liked characters in the Hindu mythology.
This time on Janamashtami, read on some interesting facts about the grand occasion of Lord Krishna’s birth.
#1. The birth of Lord Krishna is a folktale which every child while growing up has heard of. Mathura kingdom was under extreme threat and sadness at the time of rule of Kansa. King Kansa’s sister Devaki got married to Vasudeva and on their wedding it was prophesied that their eighth son will be the reason of the death of King Kansa. After coming to know about this prophecy, Kansa imprisoned Devaki and Vasudeva and started killing all their children immediately they were born.
#2. Lord Krishna was born at midnight, and in order to save him Vasudeva was advised to take Lord Krishna to Nanda, who lived in Vrindavan. The heavy rains and the storm made it extremely difficult for Vasudeva to travel but he went on nonetheless. He carried baby Krishna on his head and to protect Lord Krishna, even the Shesh Naag also rose to protect Lord Krishna from the heavy rains.
#3. Krishna was nurtured by Yashoda and Nanda. He and his friends were the naughtiest among all the children. Lord Krishna loved white butter and to have it at any cost, he would steal the entire butter made by Yashoda. Even today, makhan and mishri is the famous Prasad made for the festival of Janamashtami.
#4. The famous ritual of dahi handi is an imitation of the episodes where Krishna steals butter. Boys gather in an open place, making a human pyramid to break the earthen pot which is placed at a height of 20 to 30 feet from the ground. The boy standing on the top of the pyramid is called Govinda, and these groups are either called handis or mandals.
#5. Krishna devotees fast during his birth anniversary, and eat only a single meal one day prior to Janamashtami. The devotees fast for the entire day and break it only the next day when the Ashtami Tithi is over. Throughout the day of fasting, the devotees consume no grain and eat only a meal called ‘phallahar’.
#6. At places like Mathura, Vrindavan and some parts of Braj, the streets, and temples are decorated with colourful lights. Sweet shops are full of delicious pedas and ladoos. Idols of Lord Krishna and Radha are decorated with new clothes and they are placed on swing. At midnight, the devotees perform a ritual called ‘Krishna Abhishekam’ with ghee, milk and water. Later bhog is offered.
#7. The next day, often called the Nanda Utsav, devotees offer 56 food items famously known as the ‘chappan bhog’. This meal of chappan bhog is later distributed to the people after they break their fast. The entire meal comprises of Krishna’s favourite food dishes and generally is inclusive of cereals, dry fruits, fruits, sweets, drinks, namkeen and pickles. Some common food items are makhan mishri, kheer, rasgulla, jaleb, mathri, malpua, mohanbhog, chutney, murabba, saag, dahi, Khichadi, tikkis, milk and cashews.
#8. The myth of chappan bhog is because of the episode of Govardhan parvat. Once because of the anger of the God of Rains, Lord Indra, Vrindavan was flooded. It poured continuously for several days in a row and the people of Vrindavan visited Lord Krishna for shelter. Krishna then asked the people towards Govardhan hill, later he lifted the entire hill on his little finger. Under this hill every villager took shelter. He stood like this for seven days without moving and eating anything. When the rains topped, the villagers presented him with 56 different food items.
#9. Janamashatami is celebrated all across the country with locals celebrating it in different style. The people in Tamil Nadu draw elaborated patterns called Kolam, which is made of rice batter. Kolam is made on the entrance of the houses and small footprints of Krishna are also drawn.
Significance Of Janamshatami
The main point of importance of the festival here is that it encourages the goodwill and discourages the bad will. Krishna Janamashtami is also celebrated for togetherness.
Lord Vishnu in the sacred Hindu book, BhagvadGita, said that at all the times when the evil dominates and the religion declines, I will reincarnate in this world to kill the evil and thereby will protect the good.
The holy festival of Janamashtami brings people of faith together, hence the grand festival also symbolizes faith and unity.