People of India love their festivals and celebrate even the less significant ones with enthusiasm. India is a land of different religions and cultures; hence, every religion has its own festivals and customs. Despite the diversity, every festival is celebrated together by the people of various faiths and beliefs. Festivals of India reflect the rich cultural heritage of its people; their faith in each other’s religious beliefs; mutual harmony among the people of India and their love for the nation and its heritage.
The day of Janmashtami is a grand festival celebrated all over India to commemorate the birth of Lord Krishna, who is believed to be the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu which is celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm in India. In the Hindu calendar, the festival always falls on Ashtami, which is the eighth day of Krishna Pasha or the waning moon. In Sanskrit, the ‘eighth day’ translates to ‘Ashtami’. This is where the word ‘Janmashtami’ comes from. It is celebrated across the country, but the festivities in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh especially Mathura and Vrindavan are particularly splendid. This festival initially originated in Gokul and slowly engulfed the Mathura region and later on the whole Uttar Pradesh state. And now even, the whole country celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna as he is the epitome of love, faith, friendship, and peace. Lord Krishna stated that whenever there will be prominence of evil deeds in this universe, he will reincarnate in various looks and attire to show the path of right and peace to people. The word ‘Krushna’ is used instead of ‘Krishna’ as it is more appropriate and in accordance with Sanskrit pronunciation but people are more familiar with the word “Krishna”. The philosophy preached by Krishna is given in the Gita. ‘In His philosophy Krishna has shown the appropriate admixture of attachment and detachment.
Sri Krishna is considered as the one of the most powerful human incarnations of the Lord Vishnu. The Mahabharat is the most important part of Krishna’s life. Historians and scholars say that Lord Krishna took birth in a cellular jail in Dwapar Yug biologically to Vasudeva and Devaki. But Vasudeva had to cross the Yamuna River in a stormy night to pass on his child to a friend so save the child from the evil hands of Kansa.It is said that Lord Vishnu took the appearance of a human being and incarnated on this earth as Sri Krishna. He took the human structure to relieve humanity form troubles The Hindu epics are full of brave acts of Sri Krishna. According to Hindu belief, when the world getting engulfed with evil, god himself will take on human form to come purge the world and lead people back to the right path. Krishna inspired many followers both in his lifetime and all the times following. His teachings have travelled across the world and he’s popular god for people of all ages.
The actual celebration of Janmashtami takes place during the midnight as Sri Krishna is believed to be born on a dark, stormy and windy night to end the rule and violence of his uncle, Kansa. The most beautifully decorated temple that attracts admiring crowds from across the country is Dwarkadhish, dedicated to Lord Krishna. All over India this day is celebrated with devotional songs and dances, pujas, arti, blowing of the Conch and rocking the cradle of baby Sri Krishna. Rasa leela, is a unique aspect in regions of Mathura and Vrindavan, and regions following Vaishnavism in Manipur. The occasion is marked by placing a statue of the deity in the cradle and bathing it in panchamrit made up from milk, ghee, honey, gangajal and tulsi leaves. This panchamrit is distributed as prasad to the devotees. A tradition of Dahi Handi is extensively followed in several parts of India. Dahi Handi is an earthen container filled with yogurt. On this day, people form groups knot the ‘Dahi Handi’ at an elevation. Handis are set up all around the city, and groups of youngsters, called Govinda Pathaks, tour around in trucks trying to smash as many handis as possible during the day. The main significance of Janmashtami is to promote goodwill as it is to knock down evil intentions. Krishna Jayanti also celebrates togetherness.
Janmashtami symbolises faith and unity and brings much of delight and a feeling of harmony. The festive occasion brings people together when families and friends join in to celebrate it. Really the festivals like Janmashtami are a great way to bond with the near and dear ones and also to know about the country’s rich cultural past.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)