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Janmashtami - Fairs and Festivals in India

Shravan vad 8 celebrates the birth of Lord Shri Krishna, one of the most venerated incarnations in the Hindu Dharma. Five thousand years ago, he incarnated, at the end of the third cosmic phase, 'Dwapar Yuga' and the beginning of the present, 'Kali Yuga'.

Janmashtami is the birthday of Lord Krishna, the re-incarnation of Lord Vishnu who gave us the vital message of the Bhagwat Gita - the guiding principles for every Hindu.Janmashtami is celebrated with full vigor all over the country. Janmashtami is celebrated in various parts of India to mark the birth of Lord Krishna. It is observed on the Ashtami day of the Shravan month.

Eight days after the full moon of Shravan, falls the festival of Janmashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna. Krishna Janmashtami is an important festival in the Hindu calendar. The first day is Krishnashtami or Gokulashtami. The second day is called Kalastami or more popularly Janmashtami. It is celebrated with great devotion through out the country.

Vrindhavan, Mathura, Dwaraka are the most popular Krishna temples as it is beleived that Lord Krishna lived here. In all these locations, janmashtami is celebrated with lot of splendour. The image of the infant Bala Krishna is bathed and is cradled in the midnight time.

The conch shell is blown and the devotees celebrate the birth of the Protector of the world by singing devotional songs and by dancing with great joy.

In these places Janmashtami celebration has a special significance as these places has an association with Lord Krishna. So the rituals associated with the festival are followed. In some part of the North India, Krishna Jayanthi is celebrated for three days. The first two days are celebrated in a colorful manner. On the second day of the festival a popular ceremony known as 'Dahi Handi' takes place where the pot containing curd or butter or milk is broken by the youths. Dahikala or Govinda, as the festival of tying pots of yogurt and milk, and breaking them is called, is a special event in Mumbai and other cities of Maharashtra.

Surrenderance - 'Sharnaagati'
During the battle Shri Krishna uttered 700 shloks in the form of the 'Bhagvad Gita' to convince the reluctant Arjun to fight. The Lord finally uttered the essence of his sermons in the following verse (18/66):"Sarva dharmaan parityajya maamekam sharanam vraja,aham twaa sarvapaapebhyo mokshayishyaami maa shuchaha."i.e. O Arjun! Forsake all your personal beliefs and surrender to me. Do not lament for I shall deliver you from all sinsTherefore a true spirit of Janmashtami is for devotees to implicitly surrender at the Lord's lotus-feet, while staunchly observing dharma.

King Kansa was the most absolute and tyrannical monarch of the period; the bare mention of whose name was sufficient to send fear through the hearts of all good and peace-loving people. His sister's name was Devaki upon whom his brother Kansa showered brotherly love. And that is the reason why, on the day of Devaki's marriage to Vasudev, when the time came for Devaki to travel to her husband's house, that king Kansa wanted to drive the carriage himself as a token of his brotherly love.

On this day, in some parts of India, especially Maharashtra, youths celebrate it by breaking clay pots called 'Dahi-Handi', filled with curd and butter suspended high above the ground, young men and children form human pyramid to reach the pot and break it. This custom follows the habit of Lord Krishna who used to steal butter in this manner from villagers along with his friends. The reason for this is that Gokul; the place where lord Krishna spent his childhood used to generate a lot of milk and the people used to sell it in Mathura, thus depriving their children from milk and butter which is very essential for young boys and girls.

 

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