Friday, September 4, 2015

Krishna Janmashtami Celebrations

The birthday of Lord Krishna is celebrated by Hindus all over India and where ever they live and it is known in names such as 'Janmashtami,Srikrishna Jayanthi,Krishna Janmashtami,Gokulashtami,Ashtami Rohini' etc.In Kerala this day is referred by all these names but mostly called as 'Ashtami Rohini'.This Year 'Ashtami Rohini is today, 5th September 2015.
Sri Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu took birth as the son of Vasudevar and Princess Devaki Devi on Ashtami day, which is eighth day after the full moon in the month of 'Shravan', which is the month 'Chingam' according to the Malayalam calendar and it is 'Rohini Star' day.He was born before midnight on that day which was a 'Wednesday'.It is calculated and considered that Sri Krishna was born on 18th July 3228 B.C.
Even though Krishna was born in 'Mathura Kingdom' at the time of the birth itself the child was shifted to 'Gokulam', another place opposite the river Yamuna, to protect him  from King Kamsa who was being  frightened by a prophecy that his sister Devaki's eighth son would kill him.So he kept the couple in a prison and killed all their babies one by one when they were born.But due to the blessing of Lord Vishnu Vasudevar could take the 8th  child to 'Gokulam' where he lived as the son of 'Nanda Gopar' and 'Yasoda'.The main  occupation of that community was cattle rearing.In each and every house of that village there were cows and milk as well as milk products were in abundance.Little Krishna up to his  his teens  performed numerous pranks and mischievous activities mainly to amuse the natives and his friends.He along with his friends used to steal milk products such as butter,curd etc and sweet items from the homes of the villagers and the 'Gopikas'(ladies of Gokulam) always used to complain to Yasoda about her son Krishna  since they knew that little krishna was the leader of the children.
Gopikas used to store the curd,butter,sweets etc in a   shelf system known as 'Uri' in Malayalam which is a swinging shelf made of rope and hung from the ceiling in which three or four pots could be kept.Children had to climb on a chair or some thing of that kind to reach the 'uri'.Some times one of the children would climb on the shoulder of another to reach the uri.
For  'Janmashtami'  celebration  in many parts of India to commemorate the playful activities of little Krishna some of such 'pranks' are enacted.In North India in many parts 'Rasa Leela' dances are performed, and incidents from Krishna's life are enacted.They also play 'Dahi Handi' by which a pot of milk or curd is placed on a tree branch etc and young participants has to take it by climbing on the shoulder of one another.Some times they need to form a tower of participants to reach the height and in that task they many fall which is part of the game and gives fun for the spectators.
In Kerala instead of 'Dahi Handi' a similar game is organised which is known as 'Uriyadi' and conducted all over Kerala in public places which gives amusement for the viewers.A decorated earthen pot containing milk or curd dangling overhead from a rope attached to a pulley which can be lowered or pulled up is broken by participants dressed up as 'Little Krishna'.The participants will have a bamboo stick with them and they play and dance to the tune of percussion instrument 'Chenda'.The pot is lowered and pulled up very fast and also water is poured on the face of participants to thwart their clear vision and to miss the aim.Anyhow one of them will succeed to hit the pot and break it.

On the 'Krishna Jayanthi' day 'Shobha Yatra' is conducted in many places which is a colorful procession in which thousands of children also actively takes part.Boys  are given make-up as Lord Krishna while girls dress up as 'Gopikas'.Many of the children will be depicted as characters of that period such as 'Kamsa,Kuchela,Vasudevar' etc.Beautiful tableaux add charm and splender to the procession and incidents in Lord Krishna's life such as 'Poothana Moksham,Kalia Mardanam,Govardhanodharanam,Vasudevar carrying baby Krishna to Gokulam' etc and scenes such as 'Lord Vishnu sitting on celestial bird Garuda,Anantha Sayanam' are all depicted which add spellbound gaiety  to the procession.
A Snake-boat race is held at Chengannur, near Pandanadu in the river Pampa on this day in which several Snake-boats participates.


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