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History of Janmashtami

Learn about the origin of janmastami, its history, and how it is celebrated

Janmashtami is celebrated in various parts of India to mark the birth of Lord Krishna. It is observed on the Ashtami day of the Shravan month according to the Hindu calendar. The temples of Vrindavan witness an extravagant and colourful celebration on this occasion. Raslila is performed to recreate incidents from the life of Krishna and to commemorate his love for Radha.

Lord Vishnu is invoked in his human incarnation as Krishna on his birth anniversary in the festival of Janmashtami. The idol of the infant Krishna is bathed at midnight and is placed in a cradle. Devotional songs and dances mark the celebration of this festive occasion all over Northern India.

On this day, in some parts of India, especially Maharashtra, youths celebrate it by breaking clay pots called 'Dahi-Handi', filled with curd and butter suspended high above the ground, young men and children form human pyramid to reach the pot and break it. This custom follows the habit of Lord Krishna who used to steal butter in this manner from villagers along with his friends. The reason for this is that Gokul; the place where lord Krishna spent his childhood used to generate a lot of milk and the people used to sell it in Mathura, thus depriving their children from milk and butter which is very essential for young boys and girls.

In Maharashtra, Janmashtami witnesses the exuberant enactment of the god's childhood endeavors to steal butter and curd from earthen pots beyond his reach.

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