Lord Krishna who is believed to be the ninth incarnation of Lord Vishnu is worshipped by the people in different parts of the world. He was born to Devaki and Vasudeva but was raised by Yashoda and Nandlal after his maternal uncle, Kansa made several futile attempts to kill him. Janmashtami is celebrated to mark the joyous occasion of Shri Krishna's birth.
As it is just around the corner, we want you to know all the festivals associated with Lord Krishna and the legends behind them.
Janmashtami, also called Gokulashtami marks the birth of Lord Krishna and is celebrated every year in different parts of the world. Krishna was born in Mathura and he grew up in Gokul. He is believed to be the naughtiest of all gods. On Janmashtami, the most important tradition is reading of the Bhagavad Gita. The festival is celebrated in different ways across the globe. The celebrations start at midnight and continue until the next day. Devotees fly kites, play with curd and buttermilk, perform Raas Leela—a special form of dance that Lord Krishna used to perform with Radha and the other Gopis in the forests of Vrindavan, and sing devotional songs. People also keep cradles at their home and temples with a Krishna idol placed in it. Devotees observe fast to offer their prayers to the lord and break it only after midnight once the lord is born.
Raksha Bandhan, the festival of love and affection that celebrates the bond between a brother and a sister came into existence because of the bond between Krishna and Draupadi. According to Hindu mythology, once Krishna was flying kites when he suddenly cut his finger and it started bleeding. Watching Krishna in pain, Draupadi ran to him, tore a piece of her saree and helped him. Krishna was so touched by her gesture that he promised to protect her from all the problems and ensured her that he would be present whenever she needs him. Hence, a bond grew between them and Lord Krishna became Draupadi's rakhi brother who promised to protect his sister and in return, Draupadi wished for her brother's good health.
Holi, the festival of colours is celebrated in the month of Phalgun (Feb-March) in India. According to one of the legends, it marks the beginning of a new relationship between Radha and Krishna. Lord Krishna was dark coloured as a demoness Putana breast-fed him when he was a child with the motive of killing him with poisoned milk. During his young days, Krishna was always disappointed with his skin colour and compared it with Radha's fair skin. So tired of her son's anxiety, Yashoda asked him to approach Radha and colour her face in whichever colour he wanted. Thus the incident of him colouring Radha's face marks the beginning of their love and the day is celebrated as Holi.
Also known as Annakut (mountain of food), the festival is celebrated by offering food to the god. The significance of the festival is that Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan Hill to save the people of Vrindavan from torrential rains and provided them shelter. The festival is celebrated in the remembrance of God's existence and people's faith in him. Govardhan Puja is celebrated on the next day of Diwali.
Celebrated in Maharashtra, the festival of Dahi Handi is more of a ritual that is performed on the occasion of Janmashtami where an earthen pot full of curd is hung up at a height and a group of people, called the Govindas climb on top of each other, making a grouped ladder in order to break it. The festival is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm and fun where people play with colours, curd and buttermilk. It is celebrated a day after the Gokulashtami and is based on Krishna's love for curd and buttermilk who is also called the 'Maakhan Chor'.