Thursday, August 9, 2012

Indian Festival - Janmashtami

Why is it celebrated?
Krishna Janmashtami is the birthday of Hinduism's favorite God - Lord Krishna (an avatar of God Vishnu)

When is it celebrated?
Krishna took birth at midnight on the ashtami or the 8th day of the Krishnapaksha or dark fortnight in the Hindu month of Shravan (August-September) - Based on the cycle of the moon
[Src: http://hinduism.about.com/od/festivalsholidays/a/janmashthami.htm ]

How is it celebrated?
 The devotees of Lord Krishna observe fast for the whole day and night, worshipping him and keeping vigil through the night while listening to his tales and exploits, recite hymns from the Gita, sing devotional songs, and chant the mantra Om namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya.

Krishna's birthplace Mathura and Vrindavan celebrate this occasion with great pomp and show. Raslilas or religious plays are performed to recreate incidents from the life of Krishna and to commemorate his love for Radha.

Song and dance mark the celebration of this festive occasion all over northern India. At midnight, the statue of infant Krishna is bathed and placed in a cradle, which is rocked, amidst the blowing of conch shells and the ringing of bells.

In the south western state of Maharashtra, people enact the god's childhood attempts to steal butter and curd from earthen pots beyond his reach. A similar pot is suspended high above the ground and groups of young people form humans pyramids to try and reach the pot and break it.

The town of Dwarka in Gujarat, Krishna's own land, comes alive with major celebrations as hordes of visitors flock to the town.
[Src: http://hinduism.about.com/od/festivalsholidays/a/janmashthami.htm , ]

Additional Points to Note
* Janmashtami is one of the biggest religious festivals in the world, it is celebrated by nine hundred and thirty million people around the world--and two million in the US alone. To devotees, it’s Christmas and New Year’s in one, a day of deep spiritual renewal and celebration that effectively finishes an old year and begins a fresh one.
* What’s so special about Krishna, as opposed to any other form of God? It’s His personable-ness. He reciprocates in unique, personal ways with every devotee who offers Him love—He is the most adorable, mischievous son, the most romantic lover, the most compassionate friend. And on Janmashtami, devotees celebrate Krishna in all of these aspects. For just as Krishna reciprocates individually with His relatives and confidantes, he responds to the distinct feelings and desires held most deeply in the heart of every single worshipper.
* The term Krishna in Sanskrit means ‘black’
* Janmashtami is also known as Gokulashtami and Krishnastami
* Lord Krishna was born in Mathura but was brought up in Gokul
* Krishna’s teachings are world famous and can be found in the book called Bhagavad Gita.
[Src: http://www.krishna.com/how-celebrate-janmashtami/ , http://www.123janmashtami.com/janmashtami/facts.html]

Recommended Readings
http://www.festivalsofindia.in/janmashtami/
http://hinduism.about.com/od/festivalsholidays/a/janmashthami.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krishna_Janmashtami
http://www.krishna.com/how-celebrate-janmashtami/
http://goindia.about.com/od/festivalsevents/p/Govinda.htm
http://www.123janmashtami.com/janmashtami/facts.html

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