This week I was lucky enough to witness the Janmashtami festival in India. Janmashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna is celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm in India in the month of July or August. According to the Hindu calendar this religious festival is celebrated on the Ashtami of Krishna Paksh or the 8th day of the dark fortnight in the month of Bhadon.
The festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and vigor by Hindus all over India and abroad. I was told that people observe fast the whole day, sing hymns and conduct prayers at midnight to rejoice the birth of Lord. Ras lila, dramatic enactments of the life of Krishna, are a special feature that is showcased in every part of the country, as it re-creates the flirtatious aspects of Krishna’s youthful days.
Another interesting aspect of Krishna Janmashtami is the practice of Dahi-Handi. This game was the most amazing thing to see. I’ve seen pictures of Dahi-Handi as a young kid, but never actually witnessed it first hand. This game portrays the playful and mischievous side of Krishna, where teams of young men form human pyramids to reach a high-hanging pot of butter and break it.
The picture above was taken right near my hostel. The pot on the displayed picture was filled with curd and butter. Legend has it Krishna when he was little used to love butter and steal it. So butter was put in a pot and tied where Krishna was not able to reach it. This is where Dahi-Handi comes into play where Krishna and his friends would make a human pyramid in attempt to steal the butter.