Updated: Aug 21, 2020
Janmashtmi celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna over 3200 years ago B.C. Like any relgious Hindu festival it is celebrated with grandeur!
But lets hop back in time, to around 3200 B.C. to Mathura, when Lord Krishna was born in a prison cell. Yes, you read correctly! Lord Krishna was born in Mathura, ruled by his tyrant maternal uncle King Kansa, his mother Queen Devki got married to King Vasudeva, but on their wedding day, a fortune teller had said Devki's 8th child would be the downfall of King Kansa. King Kansa beliving this he put Devki in the dungeon with her husband which served as a prison for both of them. Each child born to Devki would be killed by Kansa himself. When the eighth child was born at the stroke of midnight, the gates of the prison automatically opened and the guards were in a deep sleep! Vasudev then took the baby and went to the village Gokul, where his friend Nanda lived. But Gokul was across the Yamuna river, the night was filled with thunderstorms and the river rising, Vasudev didn't know what to do. Little did he know he was holding the lord himself in his arms, the river parted, allowing him to just walk across to safety.
He reached his friend's Nanda's house and saw his wife Yashoda sleeping, and a baby, he quickly switched the babies, and returned back to Mathura. Upon his arrival, the guards were in a deep sleep he went back to his prison cell, the door shut behind him. The baby girl cried, the guards awoke, and King Kansa was called, surprised to see a baby girl, Devki begged for the child's life, but the tyrant killed her. Unaware that the one that would one day destroy him was safe and sound across the Yamuna river.
Janmashtmi has been celebrated around India for thousands of years, Krishna's birthday is considered to most a miraculous event. But he was also a little boy with the most cutest characteristics! He is famously known as the "makkan chor" the butter thief, he was always up to mischief! This didn't change when he got older, he was a cow herder, played the flute, and flirt with the ladies. But overall everyone loved him and he was the apple of his mother's eye Yashoda.
Every family, all across India (and abroard) celebrate Janmashtmi differently traditions are often passed down from generation to generation. In our home, we give our Bal Gopal (baby Krishna) idols, a bath, change their outfits and dress them up for the occasion. We offer flowers and prasad ( an offering of food, it can be cooked or uncooked but has to be vegan) light a diyo ( a candle, or oil lamp) and pray on this auspcious day. This day is always vegan.
This year my mother and I visited the Hindu Temple, where devotional songs were sung, and the story of Lord Krishna's birth was recited. Everyone got the opportunity to swing the Baby Lord Krishna in his swing which was beautifully adorned with flowers. A birthday cake was cut and little boys were dressed up as Baby Krishna! There was even a pinata for the kids!
The piñata actually has a story behind it, traditionally there is a celebration called "Dahi Handi" where boys climb in a human pyramid to drop the clay pots with butter or often money. It sounds easy but its not,the pots are tied up really high and often the human pyramid topples before they get to the pots.Lets say the piñata was Curacao's improvised version for the kids.
On a bit of a personal note, my family are Lord Krishna devotees for as long as I could remember, as a child my prayers would always be adressed to him. If you know me well you know that when something great happens I often say "thank you
Krishna" and when something not so great happens " Everything is in your hands now Krishna" . The older I've become I've learned to just be grateful for everything rather then concentrate on what I don't have or what could have been. Today I am grateful to all of you, for allowing me let you into my world, and share something personal with all of you.
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