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The birthday of L o r d K r i s h n a is celebrated with great devotion and love during July or August within India. According to the Hindu calendar this religious festival is celebrated on the A s h t a m i of Krishna Paksh or the 8th day of the dark fortnight in the month of Bhadon.
It is said that when God takes birth on Earth, He always has a motive, a reason- perhaps an aim. Janmashtami celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna, one of the most venerated incarnations in the Hindu Dharma.
In the B h a g v a d G i t a (4/78) the Lord has ordained:
"Y a d a a y a d a a h i d h a r m a s y a g l a n i r b h a v a t i B h a r a t;
D h a r m a s a n s t h a a p a n a a r t h a a y a s a m b h a a v a m i y u g e y u g e."
i.e. I incarnate whenever Dharma declines and evil predominates, to establish Dharma and vanquish evil.
In the Bhavishyottara Puran Shri Krishna himself extols the celebration of Janmashtami to Yudhishtir, the eldest of the five Pandavas.
He incarnated in Mathura (Uttar Pradesh) to vanquish the evil King Kansa and other evil elements who were harassing pious people. His second reason was to fulfil the pledge he had given to Vasudev and Devki. When they married Kansa heard a divine proclamation that the couple's eighth son would be his nemesis. To obviate this, Kansa imprisoned the couple and killed the first seven sons born to Devki. When Shri Krishna was born Vasudev placed him in a cradle and took the baby child through the river Yamuna. Thus the Lord survived and eventually vanquished Kansa and other evil elements.
Dharma is the most important part of Janmashtami. Lord Krishna was born to establish peace and dharma on Earth and he does that through Arjuna, one of the pandav brothers. Dharma is the key to Janmashtami
Most tend to fast on the birthday of their beloved God, they immerse themselves within Shri Krishna's lifetime through reading, reciting and singing his divine leela- especially in the evening in mandirs. At midnight, at the Lord's birth hour, aarti is performed. He is also installed in the form of 'Lalji' (child form) in a swing whilst being devotionally offered many sumptuous food dishes. 'Makhan' (butter) is symbolically included since Shri Krishna loved this in childhood.
After arti, devotees jubilantly sing and hail kirtans extolling the Lord's incarnation:
~ Staging of Plays or Dramas of Lord Krishna ~
Plays depicting various events and accomplishments of Lord Krishna during his lifetime is another important custom during the festival. Both professional artists as well as amateurs stage plays at various places that are widely attended by devotees.
~ Preparation of Sweets ~
According to legend, Lord Krishna was very fond of milk and milk products like butter and buttermilk. He was also fond of Sweets like Kheer, Pedhas etc. Therefore devotees all over make sweets during the festival to please the Lord. The traditional prasad is 'Panchajiri'- it consits of five main ingredients; powdered ginger. 'suva', , corinder, sugar and ghee. Other ingredients include poppy seeds (khaskhas) and dessicated coconut shavings. The traditional prasad is 'Panchajiri' - made of five ingredients: powdered ginger, 'suva', coriander, sugar and ghee. Other ingredients include poppy seeds (khaskhas) and dessicated coconut shavings.
Some parts of India have their own unique way of celebrating this festival :
~ Rituals in South India during Janmashtami ~
The houses in South India are beautifully decorated by women on Janmashtami. Various sweet meals are prepared and offered to the Lord. Butter, one of the favourite dishes of Lord Krishna is offered to please him in almost every house. The entire house right from the door to the temple is marked with the footprints of a child. Mixture of water and flour is used to make footprints. This custom creates a feeling of joy among the people as they feel Lord himself has blessed them by entering their homes. The day is marked with the ritual of chanting of the holy Bhagavatam, accompanied by singing of devotional songs and dances.
~ Ritual in Gujarat ~
Gujarat witnesses a very peculiar as well as an interesting ritual by the womenfolk during Janmashtami. Women give up all the household chores like cooking and cleaning etc. to play cards. This is an age old tradition. Women doing mind placing bets during the card session. The exact history of this peculiar tradition during Janmashtami is unknown but according to sociologists, this custom may have begun as a pass-time for women in the joint family system. Fasting all day long, the women played cards to kill time as well as keep them awake the entire night. It is said that women eat cold food prepared two days in advance.
So this year, tell us how you celebrate Janmashtami- shed some light onto what the festival means to you!
Wishing all members a very
| supercool3 | ..Athena.. | Angel-Jot. | -BlueEyes- |
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