Basanth Panchami Diwali Durga Puja Dussehra Ganesha Chaturthi Hanuman Jayanthi Holi
Krishna Janamashtami Makarasankranthi Nagapanchami Navarathri Rama Navami Shivrathri
Shivrathri Rama Navami Navarathri Nagapanchami Makarasankranthi Krishna Janamashtami
Holi Hanuman Jayanthi Ganesha Chaturthi Dussehra Durga Puja Diwali Basanth Panchami


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Krishna Janamashtami
krishna and balarama The day of the birth of Lord Krishna is very popular in north India. People observe fast all day long, which is broken only at mid night, the time when Krishna is believed to have born. The festival is a community celebration, and people visit Krishna temples, which are specially decorated and lit for the occasion.

The image of Krishna is ceremonially bathed in a mixture of curds, milk, honey, dry fruit and basil or tulasi leaves. This mixture is then distributed as prasad to all devotees. The idol is dressed in new clothes and offered food, sweets, fruit and clarified butter. Priests chant mantras from religious scriptures. The temple too reverberates with devotional songs in praise of the god.

In Mathura, believed to be Krishna's birthplace, and other places near by, these ceremonial observances are amplified by the staging of dramas. In them, Krishna makes himself available in and especially vivid manner to his devotees through child actors. These Brahmin boys act out incidents from Krishna's childhood and are, for that period, considered to be the god. Devotees treat them with respect and veneration, even prostrating before them. Tableaux featuring scenes from the life of Krishna abound the streets all through the day. A little before midnight, devotees pour into temples to participate in the special arati and to relive the birth of Krishna. Till midnight, devotional songs are sung in anticipation of the holy birth. Special cradles are installed at temples and a small statue of the god's s placed in them. At exactly midnight, temple bells are rung to announce the birth of Krishna. Everyone clamors to rock the cradle of the newborn. Then a special arati is performed, after which devotees partake the special prasad.

Details of celebrations for Janmashtami are found in many scriptures. The Dharmashastras specify the day to be celebrated as a vrata. The Bhavishya Purana caution s against the non-observance of this vrata saying: " Whether a man or woman, if one neglects to observe the birthday vrata of Lord Krishna - the Krishna Janmashtami - born as a female serpent in a deep forest." Other such references leave little doubt that Krishna Janmashtami originates in ancient times and that the vrata is considered mandatory.

Interesting games commemorate this event. One of the most popular is the breaking of the dahi handi or 'pot of curd'. A terracotta pot containing milk, butter and curd is hung high up across a street. Groups of men form a pyramid to try and break this pot. The group that succeeds is named the winner, and the community treats its leader with respect. This game is believed to have been especially dear to Krishna and his friends. Another form of public recreation is the Raslila.
krishna and balarama
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