Janmashtami: The Favourite Festival Of 90s Kids
'Haathi Ghoda Palki Jai Kanhaiya Lal Ki'!
Does it remind you of anything? Yes, we’re talking about the Janmashtami festival. The preparation of which, we believe, must have already started.
Do you remember the time, when as a kid, you used to go out knocking at every door in the locality asking for chandas or funds to organise the festivities? And the whole week meant you would get to dress up in those cute little avatars of Lord Krishna. The 90s kids would know it all.
The festival of Janmashtami means euphoria in the air. There is a lot of fun, laughter, dance, the Dahi Handi competition, indulging in lots of delicious sweets, and on top of it the adorable sight of so many tiny Krishnas. There would be a competition for the best look of Krishna and people would start preparing for D-Day a month before.
We all know that Janmashtami is celebrated on the day Lord Krishna was born. But we are sure many of you might be unaware of the story behind the festival. Let’s get a little flashback, shall we?
What is the significance of the festival of Janmashtami?
It was a dark and windy night when Lord Krishna was born. Devaki and Vasudeva, the birth parents, were imprisoned by his maternal uncle, Kansa, who was adamant on killing him during his birth itself. Because in a prophecy, Kansa was told that the eighth child of Devaki will kill him.
The first six children were brutally killed by Kansa. The seventh child Balaram was saved when he was moved to Rohini’s womb, another wife to Vasudeva. And the eighth one, Krishna, was somehow saved from Kansa’s wrath too. He was exchanged with the baby girl born to his foster parents, Yashoda and Nanda, in Gokul.
Krishna is believed to be the eighth human incarnation of Lord Vishnu who was born 5,200 years ago in Mathura. Lord Vishnu was a supreme God and a destroyer of evil. It is said that Krishna was one of the most powerful avatars of Lord Vishnu in the history. The day marks the presence of good and destruction of all that is evil which is celebrated as Janmashtami every year.
According to the Hindu calendar, it is observed on the Ashtami (8th day) of the ‘Krishna Paksha’. This usually falls in the time period of July and August. This year, Janmashtami festival will be celebrated on 2nd September 2018. So, are you all prepped up?
But wait, how is it celebrated?
The entire gang of followers observes fast on this day and stay up till midnight – the time when the Lord is believed to have been born.
The idol of Lord Krishna is bathed in milk which is known as Abhishekam ceremony. After that, the idol is dressed in a beautiful garment and placed in a cradle and everyone swings it joyously. The devotees first feed Lord Krishna with sweets, curd, honey, and ghee and only after that, they break their own fast. You can hear devotional bhajans and songs being sung praising the lord and welcoming him into this world everywhere.
People line up outside the temple like ISKCON, Birla Mandir, Akshardham temple just to catch the glimpse of their favourite Kanha. In Mathura, the birthplace of the lord, you will find grand celebrations being underway. The swings are decorated in thick ropes of flowers and the main celebration in the city takes place in the temple called Krishna Janma Bhoomi Mandir. And in Vrindavan, where He spent most of his childhood, you will find devotees singing ‘Jhule Lal’ in the famous 'Bankey Bihari' temple. In fact, one of the most important highlights of the event is its ‘Rasleela’ which comes alive during this time. Rasleela is a devotional dance performed by Gopis (the ardent Krishna lovers) with their lord. Each Gopi believes that Kanhaiya is her lover.
In Maharashtra, people celebrate it in a unique form. A human pyramid is formed to reach and crack the earthen pot, also known as Dahi handi, filled with a mixture of dahi and ghee which is suspended high above from the ground. The idea behind is to reflect the mischievous nature of Lord Krishna who would steal butter from the hung pots. In fact, there is a cash prize for the winning prize, this money is generally donated by people of the locality.
In the eastern states, the zeal is no less. In Manipur and Imphal, you would find a large percentage of Krishna followers who would observe fast on the day and make a visit to the temple offering floral tribute to the Lord. They also perform a folk dance to celebrate the festival. Clearly, the followers of Lord Krishna are all over India and beyond and they celebrate His birth in different states in different styles.
But that’s just how adults celebrate. Janmashtami is the festival that revolves around kids. Legends had that Lord Krishna as a kid was very naughty and playful. Of course, people would give in to his sweetness and loveable nature and he would be spared for his mischievousness. His childhood was full of fascinating incidents and you would remember how your grandmother used to share those stories with you during bed time.
During the Janmashtami celebration, the Hindus refer to the kids as ‘Bal Krishna’ or ‘Ladoo Gopal’. Especially, during the 90’s era, this little Bal Krishna would gather up together to form a community and keenly organise a short celebration in the locality. They would collect funds from door to door and buy flowers, sweets, and idols for the festivities. The deity would be decorated in a simple way and on the D-day, the kids would invite all the adults to be a part of the celebration. This little Kanha would dance, play games, sing, and do all extravagant things. Good old days, right? No wonder why it is often referred to as the favourite festival of 90’s kids.
But with the advent of the digital era, it feels like few things are just fading away or maybe not. Either way, we need to make sure that the celebration continues in the same old exciting ways. The only difference we can see in the future is in the fund collecting system.
Instead of cash, they would be getting transfer through Paytm. But jokes apart, it is the best day to be celebrated with kids and to teach them a lot about the magnanimity and greatness of Krishna at the same time. Preach them about the truth and justice by telling them stories of how He always fought for the good against evil.
The society or the schools can organise a drawing competition, kids can dress-up as Krishna and Radha and perform a small skit on it, an in-house treasure hunt can be organised, they can be taken to nearby temples, and lots of funny and interesting Krishna stories can be shared with them. In simple words, Janmashtami festival gives kids the best opportunity to be their best-self. Don’t you agree?
Before you go into complete nostalgia, the whole team at SaleBhai wants to wish you and your family a very Happy Janmashtami. Have a great year ahead!
And hey, if this reminds you of any of your childhood stories of Janmashtami that make you laugh now, we are all ears. Share your stories with us in the comment section below and we might feature them on our social media pages. So gear up!
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