Janmastami, popularly known as Krishna Janmastami is celebrated as Lord Krishna’s Birthday ,believed to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu Himself. Janmashtami is celebrated on the eight day ,that is Astami of Krishna Paksha in the Bhaadra month of Hindu calendar .The festival celebration ismost popular in Mathura and vrindavan, where enactments of Ras Lila is also performed.
According to rituals fast is kept the previous day. The idol of baby Krishna is bathed at midnight and put to a cradle. Then it is worshipped and special Aartis are song after which the fast is broken. In the morning of Janmashtami small feet impression is drawn outside the house with rice and flour paste to give the feeling that Baby Krishna has entered the house to bless the devotee. Ras Lilas are performed to recreate the youthful days of Krishna’s life. The festival is celebrated with huge enthusiasm in many parts of the country.
In south India the festival is celebrated as Sri Krishnajanamastami or Gokulastami. In Karnataka the Madhwas, Srinivasas and the Iyengars make huge preparation of the festival. The Krishnas idol is placed on a Mantapa well decorated and snacks and sweets prepared exclusively for the festival are suspended along with fruits. In the evening puja is performed. A kolam that is a rice flour painting on the flour, well known as Rangoli in most parts of India, is made to decorate the front yard of the house. This is known as ezhakoolam. Footprints representing Krishna’s entry is also made.
In India the most biggest celebration of Janmastami is done in Maharashtra. There a custom that a Dahi Handi or a clay pot filled with buttermilk is hung at great heights on roads or various communities. A human pyramid is made and the topmost person tries to break it. When the Dahi Handi is broken all the buttermilk is spilled all over the people recreating the breaking of pots by Lord Krishna in his childhood. A group of youths called Govindas travel at various local communities to break as many handis as possible . Many such Govindas compete with each other for the Handis and huge reward are also given.