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WATFORD, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28: Laxmipriya Patel (L), aged 20, dressed as the Hindu god Lord Krishna, and her sister Mohini Patel, aged 13, dressed as Lord Krishna's devotee Radharani, walk through the George Harrison Memorial Garden during the Janmashtami Hindu Festival at Bhaktivedanta Manor on August 28, 2013 in Watford, England. Up to 72,000 were expected to take part in the Hindu festival of 'Janmashtami', which falls on August 28 this year, and marks the birth of the Hindu god Lord Krishna. The festival is believed to be the largest Hindu festival gathering outside of India. Bhaktivedanta Manor is also celebrating it's 40th year since the manor house was donated to the Society of Krishna Consciousness by George Harrison in 1973. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

How to Celebrate Krishna Janmashtami in Your Society

Krishna Janmashtami is a Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu – “Shree Krishna”. It’s the biggest festival for Lord Krishna’s devotees. Krishna Janmashtami is also called as Krishnashtami/Krishna Jayanthi/Gokulashtami. This day is not just about offering prayers and fasting; it has some special activities associated with the celebrations.

Here are some ways to help you celebrate this Krishna Janmashtami in a memorable manner in your society/neighbourhood/temples/home.

Planning for Krishna Janmashtami

The festival is best celebrated with the entire neighbourhood coming together for festive celebrations on Krishna Janmashtami. A few weeks before the festival, invite people from your neighbourhood to discuss and plan the celebrations, decorations and activities for the day. Elderly women and men will be able to suggest and oversee all preparations with love. For execution, the younger generation will have to take an active lead.

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Take stock of the furniture that exists and then make a list of all the tables, chairs, mats, coolers, water dispensers, disposable crockery that needs to be rented. Arrange music system, playlists, microphone and speakers too. Make someone in-charge of buying prizes for all competitive activities.

Based on the complete to-do list, arrive at the total budget and raise money from within the society for the same. A team of kids can be formed for the task and sent to all occupied flats for contribution collection.

The Theme

janmashtmi theme

The theme for Krishna Janmashtami celebrations is already set. It is a traditional wear for ladies and gents with kids dressed as Krishna and Radha. Bright, contrast coloured clothes will be perfect.

Decorations

Before getting started with decorations, designate the places carefully –

  • to set up a cradle for new-born baby Krishna’s idol (‘baal gopal’);
  • for ‘Jhaankis’ to recreate Gokul and show other Gods and Goddesses participating in the celebrations;
  • for ‘Dahi-Haandi’ where young boys dressed as Krishna and his friends gather to break ‘haandi’ full of ‘maakhan’;
  • for singing and dancing;
  • for distributing ‘prasaad’.

Krishna Janmashtmi Preparation

Decoration Ideas

  • Decorate Lord Krishna’s Cradle (‘jhoola’) using flowers. You can use artificial flowers to decorate the jhoola as they are available in all the sizes and colours and looks adorable. We can use
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  • Adorn ‘Baal Gopal’ (kid Krishna) with beautiful, new clothes and jewellery. It is a ritual of adorning Krishna’s idol with adorable jewellery and new clothes on Krishna Janmashtmi.

 

 

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  • Use decorated handi’s and peacock feathers for beautification. Peacocks feathers are preferred as it is considered to be a symbol of purity.
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  • Use real flower garlands to cover staircases and pillars and streamers all around for a festive ambience. You can even select artificial ones as they also give an attractive look.
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  • Light up the entire place with decorative LED lights, Diyas. You can use LED diyas to decorate your house or mandir area as it will not only look adorable but also they are ecofriendly.
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  • Be creative, use paper craft etc. for decorations and recreate scenes from Lord Krishna’s life.
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Scrumptious Food and ‘Prasaad’

Krishna Janamashtmi food ideas

Don’t exert yourself on preparing the entire feast. Have a potluck wherein, each member/family brings some food. By doing this, you will have a chance to savour multiple delicacies and enjoy the festival without having the hassle of cooking everything.

Contribute and arrange for common ‘prasad’ to be given after ‘puja’ and ‘aarti’ at 12 midnight.

Chant shlokas/ bhajans (Keertan)

  • All interested people from the neighbourhood can sit and chant ‘shlokas’ or sing bhajans to amplify the spiritual atmosphere.
  • If you prefer chanting, then chant “Hare Krishna mantra”.
  • When there is no live singing/chanting, you may play devotional songs on a music system.
  • Some of you might narrate stories of Lord Krishna or read ‘Bhagwad Gita’ as well.

Activities

Plan colourful events and cultural programmes commemorating the birth of Lord Krishna.

1. Play a skit or Perform a dance

Dance Performance in janmashtmi

You can keep a skit or dance performance based on the story of Shree Krishna. And at the end, all members of the neighbourhood can join in for a group dance. Individual dance performances (pre-selected) ones can also be planned.

2. Fancy dress Competition

Fancy dress competition in janmashtmi

You can keep a fancy dress competition for kids in the age group of 3-10 yrs or give gifts to the ones who are best dressed as per the theme. Kids love to participate in such competitions no matter it is a girl or a boy, children look cute getting dressed up.

3. ‘Jhaanki’ Competition

 

Krishna Janmashtmi jhanki

8-12yr old kids to form teams and bring their own costumes and decorations for this group activity. They have to setup their jhaankis (scenes from Krishna’s birth time) in 1-3 hrs timeframe. Kids with best Jhaanki should all be rewarded.

4. ‘Dahi Haandi’

Dahi Handi in Janamashtmi

During childhood, Lord Krishna would often steal butter that ‘Gopies’ would prepare. After this incident Krishna was given the name – Makhan Chor. Keep a large earthen pot with buttermilk on a great height in the middle of an open area. A pyramid of volunteers (boys) has to break the pot and all participants will win a prize. The participants are called as ‘Govinda’. Once the pot is broken, ‘Dahikala’, ingredients in the pot are distributed as ‘prasad’ among devotees.

Midnight Celebrations

Krishna janamashtmi midnight pooja

Krishna was born at midnight, hence, special prayers (‘aarti’) are sung at midnight amidst tinkling bells to welcome the newborn baby Krishna. Thereafter, ‘prasad’ is distributed. Post this people break their fast and have a special dinner.

Visit temple

Krishna Janmashtmi Temple

Families can also plan a visit to a nearby temple to perform ‘puja’ and ‘aarti’. You may donate things to needy people. Donations can be cash, food, clothes, medicines, milk, sweets, etc.


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About Sophia

a believer in work hard, party harder! :)

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