Krishna Janmashtami

Krishna Janmashtami is the Hindu festival honouring the birth of Krishna. It is held on the Ashtami tithi which is the eighth day of the dark half or Krishna Paksha of the Hindu month of Shraavana. In the western calendar it is sometime between mid-August and mid-September. In 2013 the festival will be on the 28th of August.

The festival is celebrated in various ways. Rasa lila or Rasa dance takes us to the Krishna's childhood. In Rasa lila young Krishna dances with his lover Radha (Radhika) and her sakhis (friends). This dance is especially popular in the region of Mathura and Vrindavan.

Dahi Handi in Mumbai
Dahi Handi in Mumbai

Dahi Handi is the spectacular tradition where a group of young men makes a human pyramid. It is especially popular in Mumbai and Puni. The person on top of the pyramid tries to break the hanging handi (clay pot) filled with buttermilk. He usually uses a nariyal (coconut) as it symbolizes purity.

There are kind of competitions involving groups of young people known as Govinda Pathaks. They move from one part of the city to another trying to to break as many handis as possible in 24 hours. Handis are traditionaly named after part of the city where they are located.

Krishna Janmashtami is a very popular event in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Krishna was born in the local city of Mathura. He spent his childhood in Gokul and Vrindavan. Many people visit these places during the festival.

Chakli
Chakli

In Karnataka and Tamil Nadu statue of Krishna is placed in decorated manatapa. Offerings made to the Lord Krishna traditionally include Bhakshanam (snacks and sweets) and various fruits. Krishna Janmashtami festival is time when people in Karnataka prepare delicacies like chakli (spiral-shaped snacks) and avlakki (snacks made of rice flakes).

In Gujarat Krishna's birthday is a very special event in the Dwarkadhish temple located in the city of Dwarka. There are also many kite flying events. In Orissa and West Bengal people fast and do puja at midnight.