dahi-handi-3Janmashtmi or Gokulashmti is of the most celebrated festivals of Maharashtra. While celebration this year were subdued due to swine flu, we bring to you the history of this day which marks the birth of Lord Krishna – the 8th avatar or incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Krishna Janmaashtami, also known as “Janmaashtami” is celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna, the eighth avatar or incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The pious begin the festival by fasting on the previous day. This is followed by a night-long vigil commemorating the birth of Lord Krishna at night, and his immediate removal by his father to a foster-home for safe-keeping. At midnight, the deity of the infant Krishna is bathed, placed in a cradle and worshipped. In the early morning, ladies draw patterns of little children’s feet outside the house with rice-flour paste, walking towards the house. This symbolizes the entry of the infant Krishna into his foster-home. This custom is popular in some communities of South India. The most celebrated aspect of the festival is during the fore-noon hours of the “Dahi-Handi” custom. Sweets made of milk and other dairy products, especially butter, are traditionally prepared on this occasion. Clay pots called “Dahi-Handi”, filled with curd and butter, are suspended high above the ground. To a constant chorus of “Govinda, Govinda” from all those present, teams of young men form human pyramids to reach the pot and break it, to the merriment of the youths and of the assembly. The festival is thus celebrated with great joy and communal togetherness by one and all.

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