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Krishna Janmashtami 2019: Here's How Different Places Celebrate Birth of Vishnu's 8th Avatar

Considered to be the eighth avatar of Vishnu, Lord Krishna's birthday is celebrated on the eighth day of the Krishna Paksha in the month of Shravan.

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Updated:August 23, 2019, 9:44 AM IST
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Krishna Janmashtami 2019: Here's How Different Places Celebrate Birth of Vishnu's 8th Avatar
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Krishna Janmashtami 2019 | Devotees of Lord Krishna celebrate the Blue God's birth across the world. Considered to be the eighth avatar of Vishnu, Lord Krishna's birthday is celebrated on the eighth day of the Krishna Paksha in the month of Shravan. An important festival, particularly to the Vaishnav tradition of Hinduism, Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated widely across places like Manipur, West Bengal, Assam, Odisha, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, among other places, it is the major festival of Vrindavan and Mathura, where Lord Krishna was born and raised respectively. Krishna Janmashtami is on August 24 in 2019.

Maharashtra: Popularly known as Gokulashtami in Maharashtra, it is observed by the celebration of Dahi Handi every August/ September, a day after Krishna Janmashtami. The festival gets its name from the legend of a baby Krishna, who, according to legend would seek and steal milk products such as yoghurt and butter and people would hide their supplies high up out of his reach. Krishna would try different types of ways to reach the edibles, such as making human pyramids with his friends to break these high hanging pots and the festival enacts his pursuit of his favourite food.

In Maharashtra and other western states in India, the legend is played out by the community, where pots of yoghurt are hung high up and teams of youth called the "Govindas" go around to these localities with hanging pots, climb one over another and form a human pyramid, then break the pot. In Mumbai, the festival has taken on the garb of a competition among various mandals as well, each trying to outdo the other. Cash and gifts are offered to the winning Govinda teams.

Gujarat: People in Dwarka, Gujarat, where Krishna had established his legendary kingdom celebrate with a festival similar to Dahi Handi but call it Makhan Handi. Others perform folk dances at temples, sing devotional songs, visit Dwarkadhish Temple or Nathdwara to celebrate the day.

North India: Janmashtami is the largest festival in the Braj regon of north India in cities such as Mathura and Vrindavan. Notably, it is believed that Krishna was born in Mathura and raised in Vrindavan. Vaishnav communities here and in Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Himalayan north celebrate Janmashtami with much pomp and splendour.

East and Northeast India: The widespread tradition of worshipping Krishna in these regions stems from the efforts and teachings of 15th and 16th century Sankardev and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Performance arts such as Ankia Naat, Sattriya, Borgeet and Bhakti yoga are celebrated in West Bengal and Assam while people in Manipur developed Manipuri dance form, a classical dance form known for its Hindu Vaishnav themes which is showcased on the day. In Odisha and in Nabadwip, West Bengal, the festival is also referred to as Sri Krishna Jayanti or simply Sri Jayanti.

South India: In Tamil Nadu, people decorate the floor with kolams, while Geetha Govindam and other such devotional songs are sung in praise of Krishna. Devotees draw footprints of Krishna from the threshold of the house till the altar room, which depicts the arrival of Krishna into the house.

In Andhra Pradesh, recitation of hymns and devotional songs are the characteristics of this festival. Another unique feature of this festival is that young boys are dress up as Krishna and they visit neighbors and friends. Different varieties of fruits and sweets are first offered to Krishna and after the puja, these sweets are distributed among the visitors.

Outside India: Places like Nepal, Bangladesh, Fiji and Pakistan too celebrate Janmashtami, while ISKCON temples around the world too celebrate the day.

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| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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