India is a country of festivals, and we have abundant occasions to celebrate new beginnings, be it of a season or life. Many seasonal cycles highlight fasting as a means to detox the body, praying for detox of the soul and performing acts of singing and dancing to celebrate. Every occasion is filled with colourful decorations, specific to the theme around the God around whom the festival revolves. One of my and my son’s favourites is Janmashtami.
I have many fond memories of my celebrating Janmashtami during childhood, praying for ample rainfall so that we could get a second day off at school after Janmashtmi, preparing makhan and gud ke laddoo, setting up a jhanki with my sister, and listening to our parents recite stories from their childhood and of Lord Krishna. In turn, I want my son to have all these memories, and more, by celebrating this festival.
Janmashtami, also known as Krishna Janmashtmi, celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna to Devaki and Vasudev. Remembered as the eighth avatar of Vishnu, he was born on the eighth day of krishna paksha during the Shravan month, according to Hindu scriptures. Today, his birth signifies the beginning of the end of evil, and is celebrated as an important festival in most Indian homes.
On this day, Hindu’s all over the world observe a fast and celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna. People commemorate the day with the ceremonial breaking of the matki – a tradition where many groups of men and women form human pyramids to reach a matki hanging at a height, and break it. Local artists perform plays and dance performances depicting the life of Lord Krishna and many parents dress up their kids as Lord Krishna’s baal roop.
When my son was less than a year old, I dressed him up as Baal Gopal by draping my dupatta over him, dressing him with all jewels I had, and handing him a dahi handi for the first time. Ever since, he has an undying love for mishti dahi.
What festivals do you celebrate and does your child love participating in them? Let’s talk!
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