India, which is sometimes also known as the Land of Festivals boasts of celebrating festivals for every season and every religions. In this land of rich cultural heritage, there are several festivals celebrated throughout the year, during which everybody takes part in the rejoicings irrespective of caste, creed, religion, status and age. There are festivals for every religion and region held during different times of the year. Every state of the country has their own festivals during which all people take part in the rejoicings irrespective of their caste, creed, religion and age.
Janmashtami is a Hindu festival held in the month of Shravana according to the Hindu Lunar Calendar. The festival is related to Lord Krishna and is celebrated in memory of his birth which was on the Ashtami Tithi , that is the eighth day of the dark half of the moon. The festival is known in various names in different names in different parts of the country like Krishnasthami, Saatam Aatham, Gokulasthami, Dahi Handi, Sree Jayanthi, Ashtami Rohini and several others, although the central idea behind the rituals remains the same.
The festival owes its origin to the legend of the birth of Lord Krishna in jail at the stroke of midnight, where his parents were kept captive by his uncle Kansa. Krishna was immediately removed from there by his father Vasudeva to a foster home to save him from the hands of his maternal uncle Kansa. The rituals of the ceremony include fasting from the previous day which is followed by night long celebrations in memory of the birth of the Lord. At midnight, an idol of Krishna is bathed in holy water, decorated with new clothes and jewellery and is worshipped throughout the next day. The festival of Janmashtami finds special importance in Mathura and Vrindavan whish is regarded as the birth place of the Lord.
People throng the temples on the day and various types of riruals and celebrations takes place in different parts of the country. One of the most interesting events of the ceremonies is the Dahi Handi which is mainly held in Maharashtra. A clay pot or “Handi” is filled with curd and positioned at a convenient height. A human pyramid is formed and the topmost person breaks the pot filled with butter milk by hitting it with a blunt object and the milk spills all over group. It symbolizes their victory and unity.
The festival is celebrated with zeal and rejoicings all over the country and people exchange sweets and greeting with neighbors and loved ones. The festival is also celebrated in various other parts of the world wherever there exist Hindu societies.