Janmashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna is celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm in India in the month of July or August.
According to the Hindu calendar this religious festival is celebrated on the Ashtami of Krishna Paksh or the 8th day of the dark fortnight in the month of Bhadon.Â He was born around 5,200 years ago in Mathura. The sole objective of Sri Krishna’s birth was to free the Earth from the evilness of demons. He played an important role in Mahabharata and propagated the theory of bhakti, (devotion), and good karma which are narrated deeply in the Bhagwat Geeta.Â Sri Krishna was born in a prison in the custody of Kansa, (his mother’s brother). Vasudev, His father immediately thought of his friend Nand and decided to hand over his child to him to save Krishna from the clutch of Kansa. Krishna grew up in Gokul and finally killed his uncle, King Kansa.
The actual celebration of Janmashtami takes place during the midnight as Sri Krishna is believed to be borned on a dark, stormy and windy night to end the rule and violence of his uncle, Kansa. 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.
The Janmashtami celebration of Mathura and Vrindavan, the places where Sri Krishna had spent his life, are very special. On this day temples and homes are wonderfully decorated and illuminated. Night long prayers are offered and religious mantras are sung in the Temples.
Krishna Janmashtami is an annual commemoration of the birth of the HinduÂ deity Krishna,Â the eighth avatar of Vishnu.Â The festivalÂ is celebrated on the eighth day Â of the Krishna Pakha,Â (dark fortnight) of the month of Bhadrapada,Â (Augustâ€“September.Â Rasa lila, dramatic enactments of the life of Krishna, are a special feature in regions ofÂ MathuraÂ andÂ Vrindavan, and regions followingÂ Vaishnavism in Manipur.Â While theÂ Rasa lilaÂ re-creates the flirtatious aspects of Krishna’s youthful days, theÂ Dahi Handicelebrate God’s playful and mischievous side, where teams of young men form human towers to reach a high-hanging pot of butter and break it. This tradition, also known asÂ uriadi, is a major event inÂ Tamil NaduÂ on Gokulashtami.
Hindus celebrate Janmashtami by fasting and staying up until midnight, the time when Krishna is believed to have been born. Images of Krishna’s infancy are placed in swings and cradles in temples and homes. At midnight, devotees gather around for devotional songs, dance and exchange gifts. Some Temples also conduct reading of the Hindu religious scriptureÂ Bhagavad Gita.
Janmaashtami,Â popularly knownÂ asÂ Dahi Handi,Â is celebrated with enormous zeal and enthusiasm. TheÂ handiÂ is a clay pot filled withÂ buttermilkÂ that is positioned at a convenient height prior to the event. The topmost person on theÂ human pyramidÂ tries to break theÂ handiÂ by hitting it with a blunt object. When the handi breaks, the buttermilk is spilled over the entire group, symbolizing their achievement through unity.Â HandisÂ are set up around the city, and groups of youngsters, calledÂ GovindaÂ Pathaks, travel around in trucks trying to break as manyÂ handisÂ as possible during the day.
Many, such Govinda Pathaks, compete with each other, especially for theÂ handisÂ that dole out hefty rewards. The event, in recent times, has been common for political parties and rich community groups to offer prizes amounting to thousandsÂ of rupees.Â Cash and gifts are offered forÂ GovindaÂ troops to participate; for over 4,000Â handisÂ in Mumbai, 2,000Â GovindaÂ troops compete for the prizes.
Bhaktivedanta Manor Krishna Temple situated in the Hertfordshire countryside annually stages perhaps the worldâ€™s most vibrant celebration of Janmashtami. The day is especially dear to the community, visitors and pilgrims of the Manor because Srila Prabhupada, the founder of the Hare Krishna Movement, performed the installation ceremony of the Deities of the Temple (Sri Sri Radha-Gokulananda) on Janmashtami in 1973. Hence, at the Manor, the celebration is not only of the appearance of Krishna 5000 years ago, but also of the anniversary of the installation of the Radha-Krishna Deities at the Manor.Â The celebrations in recent years remind us of how the Manor has grown in a huge way. Last year, some 70,000 pilgrims from all over the world flocked to the Manor, hearing of the famous Manor Janmashtami Festival being the biggest of its kind outside India. The excitement and buzz of Janmashtami spills over from the temple on to the temple grounds, which are transformed with tents, exhibitions of dance, drama, multimedia presentations, interactive Q&A tents, and a virtual experience of the culture, philosophy and music of the Hare Krishna Movement.
Bhaktivedanta Manorâ€™sÂ Janmashtami Celebrations 2013:Â Wednesday 28th August & Sunday 1st September
Bhaktivedanta Manorâ€™s spectacular Janmashtami festival is expected to attract over 70,000 pilgrims to celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna on earth 5000 years ago. The festival will demonstrate the spiritual variety of Indiaâ€™s ancient Vedic culture in all its glory.
On arrival, visitors will walk through the newly completed â€˜New Gokulâ€™ complex, Europeâ€™s largest cow protection project, as they make their way to the colourful festival site. At the site, the main marquee will stage cultural dances and musical extravaganzas. Over 50,000 pilgrims will also eagerly queue in anticipation to greet Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda, the temple Deities, in the Manorâ€™s exquisitely decorated shrine. Even the queue itself will be a spiritual experience, as it makes its way along a flowered walk-way around the Manorâ€™s lake, with pilgrims admiring the illuminated displays of Krishnaâ€™s pastimes.
Throughout the day, kitchen staff will be working solidly, preparing no less than 50,000 plates of prasadam (sacred vegetarian food) that will be distributed freely to all pilgrims. A dedicated childrenâ€™s area will feature a mini â€˜main marqueeâ€™ where children will perform carefully prepared shows and dances. An array of stalls and exhibits will display spiritual art and literature, while there will also be themed marquees providing lifestyle tips, such as a cruelty-free diet and a reduced environmental footprint.
For timing, details and location, please visitÂ Bhaktivedanta Manor’s website:
Southwark Carers Would Like To Wish Everyone Celebrating A Happy Krishna Janmashtami.
Nearest tube: Elephant & Castle underground station (Northern and Bakerloo lines).
Nearest Railway Station: Elephant & Castle
Buses from Elephant and Castle: ask bus driver for Burgess Park. Bus numbers: 12, 171, 148, 176, 68, 484, 42, 40, 45