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Janmashtami - The Celebration of Birth of Lord Krishna

Janmashtmi Festival
Krishna Janmashtami or the birth of Lord Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu on earth, is observed on the eighth day of the dark half (Krishna Paksha) of the month of Bhadrapada according to the Hindu calendar. The festivities begin with fasting on the previous day (Saptami, seventh day) which is followed by a night-long vigil commemorating the birth of Krishna at night, and his immediate removal by his father to a foster-home for safe-keeping at Gokula. At midnight, the idol of the infant Krishna is bathed, placed in a cradle and worshipped.

After ablutions, morning prayers and worship, the devout break their fast with food that has first been offered to Krishna. During the fore-noon hours, the "Dahi-Handi" custom is celebrated. It is customary to break earthen pots filled with buttermilk, which is tied high up on a rope on this day. Hundreds of people join hands to make a human pyramid, so that they can reach the pot. But the crucial factor is that people who surround the pyramid, keep throwing water on the group forming the pyramid.

Devotional songs and dances mark the celebration. Rasa Lila is performed to recreate incidents from the life of Krishna and commemorate his love for Radha. Homes and temples are filled with Krishna chants of ‘Hare Ram, Hare Krishna’ and every Gujarati worship Lord Krishna and celebrates his birth with great faith and joy.

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