What makes Krishna Janmashtami festival in Nepal special?
Krishna Janmashtami is a special Hindu festival honoring the birth of Lord Krishna, who is considered an incarnation of the god Vishnu.
It takes place on the eighth day (known as Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (the waning phase of the moon) in the month of Shraavana according to the Hindu calendar.
This year, the Krishna Janmashtami festival is set to happen on the 10th of Bhadra in the year 2081, which corresponds to August 26, 2024, in the regular calendar.
Importance of Krishna Janmashtami in Nepalese Culture
Here's a breakdown of why Krishna Janmashtami is so important in Nepalese culture:
- Religious Significance
Nepalese people, predominantly Hindus, celebrate this day with elaborate rituals, prayers, and fasting. They remember and honor the divine incarnation of Lord Krishna, symbolizing the victory of good over evil.
- Cultural Significance:
Traditional performances such as bhajans (devotional songs), dance dramas depicting episodes from Lord Krishna's life (such as Raas Leela), and recitations of sacred texts like the Bhagavad Gita are integral parts of the celebrations.
- Financial Significance
Markets witness a surge in demand for traditional clothing, puja items like idols of Lord Krishna, flowers, incense, and sweets, boosting sales and generating revenue for local businesses.
Story behind Krishna Janmashtami in Nepal
Krishna Janmashtami celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna, who is considered the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu in Hinduism. Legend has it that Krishna was born in Mathura, India, marking the end of oppression and the beginning of righteousness.
Krishna's parents were Devaki and Vasudeva, but fearing for his life due to a prophecy, he was secretly taken to Gokul and raised by Yashoda and Nanda. His birth was prophesied to end the tyrannical rule of his maternal uncle, King Kansa.
The legend goes that Kansa, fearing the prophecy, imprisoned Devaki and Vasudeva and killed their previous children. However, when Krishna was born, divine intervention allowed Vasudeva to safely carry the newborn across the river Yamuna to the village of Gokul, where he was raised by his foster parents, Yashoda and Nanda.
How do people celebrate Krishna Janmashtami in Nepal?
In Nepal, Krishna Janmashtami, one of the major Nepalese festivals, is a time of immense joy and dedication. Here's how people typically celebrate this special occasion:
Many devotees fast on Krishna Janmashtami, refraining from food and sometimes even water until midnight, which is believed to be the time of Lord Krishna's birth.
2. Temple Visits
People make trips to temples dedicated to Lord Krishna, like the Krishna Mandir in Patan Durbar Square or the Krishna Temple in Kathmandu. Here, they offer prayers, perform rituals, and seek blessings.
3. Singing and Dancing
Throughout the day and night, devotional songs called bhajans are sung in temples and homes, accompanied by traditional dances that depict scenes from Krishna's life.
4. Breaking of Dahi Handi
In certain regions, particularly in the Terai region of Nepal, the Dahi Handi tradition takes place. Here, pots filled with curd are suspended high above the ground, and young men form human pyramids to break them. This act symbolizes Krishna's playful nature as a child.
Following the midnight celebrations, families and communities gather for a special feast known as "prasadam." This feast consists of various vegetarian dishes prepared as offerings to Lord Krishna.
6. Cultural Programs
Communities and temples organize cultural events, dramas, and performances centered around the life and teachings of Lord Krishna. These activities add to the festive ambiance of the occasion.
Best Places to Go during Krishna Janmashtami
Let’s have a look.
1. Krishna Mandir, Patan Durbar Square
Krishna Mandir, located in Patan Durbar Square of Kathmandu Valley, is a well-known temple dedicated to Lord Krishna. Both locals and tourists alike gather at Krishna Mandir to partake in the festivities and seek blessings.
The temple is adorned with ornate decorations, and rituals are carried out with deep reverence. Traditional music, dance, and theatrical displays depicting episodes from Krishna's life enhance the lively atmosphere.
Visitors come together to sing devotional songs, offer prayers, and immerse themselves in the spiritual aura of the temple. The celebrations extend late into the night, fostering a spirited and joyous ambiance for all attendees.
2. ISKCON Temple, Kathmandu
ISKCON is a prominent temple located in the Budhanilkantha municipality of Kathmandu, Nepal. This temple, affiliated with the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), is dedicated to the worship of Lord Krishna, a central deity in Hinduism.
ISKCON serves as a hub for spiritual activities and gatherings for devotees and visitors alike. The temple hosts daily rituals, prayers, and bhajans (devotional songs) in honor of Lord Krishna.
Devotees and visitors can also participate in educational programs, lectures on spiritual teachings, and engage in community service initiatives organized by the temple.
Krishna Janmashtami holds profound significance in Nepal, symbolizing the birth of Lord Krishna and celebrating his divine presence on Earth. The festival brings communities together in joyous festivities, marked by vibrant rituals, devotional singing, and traditional dances.
As Nepalese families come together to honor Lord Krishna, they also reflect on the values of love, compassion, and righteousness that he embodies. Through the celebration of Krishna Janmashtami, Nepal embraces its rich cultural heritage and strengthens the bonds of faith and unity among its people.
May the spirit of Krishna Janmashtami continue to inspire peace, harmony, and spiritual enlightenment across Nepal and beyond.