Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Happy Janmashtami

Janmashtami pooja is the one of the most well known pooja of India. The whole nation celebrates the divine birth of Lord Krishna on this day. All of us wish ‘Shubh Janmashtami’ to each other and happy birthday to Bal Gopal or child Krishna. The day, indeed, commemorates the auspicious birth of ‘Murlimanohar’ (name of Lord Krishna as he loved to play flute) on the earth in order to destroy evil things. According to the Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna was born at midnight. Hence, the birth ceremony is also celebrated with great zest and enthusiasm at midnight.Janmashtami is celebrated on the eighth day i.e. the Ashtami in the month of Shravana. The legend has it that Banke Bihari, was born on the 'Rohini' nakshatram (star). According to the Gregorian calendar, the month of Shravana corresponds to that of August and September. Mythology also reveals the fact that that Bhagwaan Sri Krishna was born on a dark, stormy and windy night to end the rule and atrocities of his maternal uncle, Kansa. 

Krishna Janmashtami is observed on the Ashtami tithi, the eighth day of the dark half or Krishna Paksha of the month of Shraavana in the Hindu calendar, when the Rohini Nakshatra is ascendant. The festival always falls within mid-August to mid-September in the Gregorian calendar. In 2009, for example, the festival was celebrated on the 14th of August, while in 2010, the festival will be celebrated on 2 September.

In the south, the festival is celebrated as Sri Krishnajanmashtami, Janmashtami or Gokulashtami. The pooja is performed late in the evening,[Particularly time when Moon rises this time will differ for different places this time will mentioned in Hindu calendar Panchanga as Krishna was born at midnight. Generally, most of the sweets and savouries are prepared on that day. Normally, a Kolam (rice flour drawings on ground), also known as rangoli, drawn specially for the occasion, called ezhakoolam, decorates the front yard. Footprints representing those of Krishna are drawn from the front yard to the pooja room, representing the god entering the devotee's home.

Janmaashtami, popularly known in Mumbai and Pune as Dahi Handi is celebrated with enormous zeal and enthusiasm. The handi is a clay pot filled with buttermilk that was positioned at a convenient height prior to the event; the topmost person on the human pyramid tries to break the handi by hitting it with a blunt object, and when that happens, the buttermilk is spilled over the entire group, symbolizing their achievement through unity. Various Handis are set up locally in several parts of the city, and groups of youngsters, called Govinda, travel around in trucks trying to break as many handis as possible during the day. Some of the most famous handis are at Dadar, Mazgaon, Lalbaug and some in Thane a neighboring district of Mumbai and Babu Genu, Mandai in Pune.
Cash and gifts are offered for Govinda troops to participate; for over 4000 Handis in Mumbai, 700 Govinda troops compete for the prizes.


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