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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Pagan Festival Shout Out: Krishna Janmashtami



JanmashtamiAlthough Hinduism is a well established old religion that is still going strong and only considered a pagan religion by Christians I have incorporated some of the Hindu gods and beliefs into my own version of pagan spirituality. So I am sending celebratory cheers to Krishna today. The Krishna Janmashtami celebrates the birth of Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu  on August 28th.

The festival is celebrated on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) of the month of Bhadrapada (August–September; However, in both traditions it is the same day. So, we have works like Vishnudharmottara Purana saying Krishna Ashtami is in the Bhadrapada month and Skanda Purana stating that it falls in the month of Shravana) in the Hindu calendar. Rasa lila, dramatic enactments of the life of Krishna, are a special feature in regions of Mathura and Vrindavan, and regions following Vaishnavism in Manipur. While the Rasa lila re-creates the flirtatious aspects of Krishna's youthful days, the Dahi Handicelebrate God's playful and mischievous side, where teams of young men form human towers to reach a high-hanging pot of butter and break it. This tradition, also known as uriadi, is a major event in Tamil Nadu on Gokulashtami.

Hindus celebrate Janmashtami by fasting and staying up until midnight, the time when Krishna is believed to have been born. Images of Krishna's infancy are placed in swings and cradles in temples and homes. At midnight, devotees gather around for devotional songs, dance and exchange gifts. Some temples also conduct reading of the Hindu religious scripture Bhagavad Gita.

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