Happy Krishna Janmashtami!
The birthday Lord Krishna, Hinduism’s favorite God, is called Krishna Janmashtami. It is a very popular holiday on the Hindu calendar. Many Hindus consider Lord Krishna their leader, hero, protector, philosopher, teacher, and friend all rolled into one. So his birthday is a time of huge celebration.
Hindus celebrate Janmashtami first by fasting all day and night. Through the fast they practice many rituals such as reciting hymns from the Gita, singing bhajans (devotional songs), and chanting the mantra Om namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya (which basically means: O my Lord, the all-pervading Personality of God, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You).
In Mathura, Krishna’s birthplace, Hindus go all out in their celebration of their favorite Lord’s birthday. Religious plays are performed to depict the many adventures of Krishna’s life, and to honor the love between him and the love of his life, Radha.
In northern India song and dance mark the festive occasion and at midnight a figurine of baby Krishna is bathed and rocked in a cradle while onlookers blow conch shells and ring bells.
In Maharashtra, a game is played to depict Lord Krishna’s childhood attempts to steal butter from matkas (earthen pots). A matka is suspended above the ground and young people form a human pyramid to try to get at the pots and break them.
Would you like to hear the story of the birth at the heart of all this celebrating? Stay tuned. That’s coming next.