The festival is celebrated on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) of the month of Shravana (August-September) in the Hindu calendar. Rasa lila, dramatic enactments of the life of Krishna, are a special feature in regions of Mathura and Vrindavan, and regions following Vaishnavism in Manipur. While the Rasa lila re-creates the flirtatious aspects of Krishna's youthful days, the Dahi Handi celebrate 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 as uriadi, is a major event in Tamil Nadu on Gokulashtami. Krishna Janmashtami is followed by the festival Nandotsav, which celebrates the occasion when Nanda Baba distributed gifts to the community in honour of the birth.
Janmashtami Celebrations In Dwarka
Dwarka which is the place where Krishna was born celebrates this festival in a big way. There are hordes of visitors who flock this city to witness and take part in the celebrations. The city is decorated and the people sing Bhajanspraising Lord Krishna. People light up their homes and celebrate Krishna’s birth in a grand manner. Women prepare special food items and make offerings to the Gods also. Sri Krishna was particularly fond of butter and milk items and so women prepare sweet dishes made using milk and Ghee. Many people observe a fast also on this day.
Janmashtami Celebrations In Vrindavan
In places like Vrindavan, plays are organised wherein people enact scenes and events from Krishna’s childhood days and adult life as well. This is known as Rasleela. Nowadays in modern times, Rasleela is performed by professional troupes. They perform it with utmost devotion and sincerity and keep the tradition alive. Various important events of Krishna’s life are enacted and people enjoy watching it.
The Rasleela of Vrindavan is famous. Vrindavan was Krishna’s birthplace and he spent his early childhood years here. It is said that later on around the age of twenty eight, Sri Krishna moved to Dwarka where he spent a majority of his life. He also spent some years in Mathura. These three places Vrindavan, Mathura and Dwarka are important places of significance for Krishna devotees. In these places, Janmasthami is celebrated with great gusto and fervou r. Krishna Janmashtami is also celebrated in other countries besides India by ardent Krishna followers. Indians who are living abroad also celebrate this festival with great excitement and interest.
Many people conduct Puja at midnight itself. Some others perform Puja in the morning or evening. In many houses in South India, people draw footsteps of Lord Krishna from the entrance of the house to the Puja room. These footsteps are drawn with rice flour paste and drawing these footsteps is a sign of welcoming Lord Krishna home. Women draw patterns of tiny footsteps like those of infant Krishna.
Many people love Lord Krishna. He is a favorite deity for many people and hence this celebration has a lot of significance for many Hindus. People pray to Lord Krishna on this day and seek his blessings for a happy and good life. There are long queues outside Lord Krishna's temples on the day of Janmashtami and everybody sings praises of Lord Krishna on this holy day.