Festivals Celebrated in Brajbhoomi
Because of the embodiment of love that Lord Krishna used to spread, this place is also known to hold various lyrical expressions like Sanjhee, Raaslila, Charkula, Rasiya, etc. Today the place is known for its colorful festivals that are celebrated throughout the year. All the festivals that happen here are centered on Lord Krishna and his consort Sri Radha Rani, These include Lathmaar Holi, Shri Krishna Janmashtami (Lord Krishna Birthday), Radha Ashtami (Radha Birthday), Kans Vadh, Yam Dwitiya and Hariyali Teej.
During the Braj festivals, people are seen dancing, singing and performing dramas to the extreme most. People also act and perform to the childhood pranks that Shri Krishna used to play in his childhood. The roads and temples here are decorated with flowers and colors and the music of flute and drums just makes the environment enchanting. Today people from all across the country visits Mathura, Vrindavan and other parts of the holy Brajbhoomi in order to celebrate the colorful festivals that earmarks the times of Lord Krishna. The rich tradition of folk songs adds an additional component to the festival. The festivals are celebrated across the Braj with special arrangements in Nandgoan, Radhakund, Vrindavan, Mathura, Mahavan and Govardhan. It is said that once you visit and witness all such festivals in Brajbhoomi, you can’t stop yourself to visit this place again and again because of the attachments one gets here, this can simply be said to be the magic of Lord Krishna.
In the beautiful Braj Region, Holi is celebrated in a special way known as Lathmaar Holi. The name might sound violent, but when one witness the traditional festival, they may find more of enthusiasm and energy in it. On this day, the women take a stick and beat the men. The men need to work a lot to save them from the highly energetic charged up womenfolk.
Barsana is the birth place of Radha Rani, the beloved of Lord Krishna. Holi here is celebrated with lots of energy and colors as Krishna is known for playing pranks with Radha and gopis. It is also said that Lord Krishna started this tradition by applying Holi for the first time in the face of Radha.
Womenfolk in this traditional time want to take revenge from the men because of the pranks and mischievous activities that they play by applying color. Also the men from Nandgaon, the birthplace of Lord Krishna come and play Holi with the girls of Barsana, but they are mainly greeted with sticks and lathis in place of colors. Men mainly comes prepared considering the fact that they will be welcomed with sticks here in Barsana and may even be asked to wear female attire and dance in public. All in all the colorful sight and the innumerable enthusiasm among the men and women shows the spirit of Holi.
Shri Krishna Janmashtami
Janmashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna is celebrated across the country with great devotion and enthusiasm in the month of August. According to the Hindu calendar, the holy festival is celebrated on the Ashtami of Krishna Paksh or the 8th day of the dark fortnight in the month of Bhadon.
The celebration of Janmashtami mainly takes place at the midnight as Shri Krishna is believed to be born in the windy and stormy midnight. During this festive time, the whole country is decorated and illuminated with lights and colors. The temples in Mathura and Vrindavan are also decorated with innumerable flowers and lights and night long prayers are offered to Lord Krishna and religious mantras are sung in the temples. On this auspicious occasion, people also perform various raas lilas and read the life story of Lord Krishna.
Tthe festive occasion also earmarks lots of enjoyment and happiness for the devotees as they perform various devotional songs, pujas, artis and dances. People also go on fasting till they serve food and water to Lord Krishna in the midnight. What’s more the flute and enchanted music just add a mesmerizing factor to the whole atmosphere.
Guru Purnima (Muniya Puno)
Guru Purnima is one of the most important spiritual festivals in India which is celebrated by Hindus. It is generally marked by the ritualistic veneration of Guru Puja. In this festive occasion of Guru Purnima, Muriya Puno Mela is held Govardhan town of Mathura district. The Mela is held for five days which starts on Ashadha Navami (during Shukla Paksha) and normally culminates on Guru Purnima day. The last day of Mela is famously known as Muriya Purnima.
During the Muriya Puno Mela, devotees from all over the country perform Parikrama of Govardhan Hills and Radha Kunda. Also, thousands and thousands of devotees walk barefooted for almost 12 kilometers to pay homage to Govardhan Hills and Radha Kunda. During the same time, other rituals are done which includes holy bath in Manasi Ganga and visit to Dhanghati temple.
Muriya Purnima is also celebrated across Iskcon and Vishnu society with high esteem and rituals and is also known as Mini Kumbha.
Radha Ashtami is celebrated across the country especially in Mathura and Vrindavan as the birthday of Radha Rani. The celebration happens with lots of devotion and joy and is observed after 15 days of Janmashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna. Radha Rani was born in the town of Barsana in Mathura and her birthday is the sacred eighth day of the month of Bhadrapada.
On this auspicious occasion, devotees wait until midnight in order to take a bathe in Radha Kunda or Radharani’s Pond, which is normally not allowed in other times of the year as it is considered to be holy. People also chant the names of Radha Rani on the ”appearance day” or birthday of Sri Radha and it is believed that Radha Rani appears that time.
Similar to Janmashtami, Radha Ashtami is celebrated with joy and happiness in India and is decorated with lights and colors. The occasion has a great influence in Northern part of India where Shri Krishna and Radha Rani spent most of their life.
Kans Vadh is one of the epic moments in the history of India when Lord Krishna had actually defeated and killed Kans, the evil ruler of Mathura to release His grandfather, father and mother from prison. Today this epic moment is celebrated in Mathura near Vrindavan as Kans Vadh Leela. Kans Vadh Leela is one of the famous incidents in Hindu Scriptures and is depicted as the win of Dharma over the annihilation of Adharma. This divine festive is held each year in the month of Kartik and is observed on the 10th day of the Shukla Paksha of Kartik month as per traditional Hindu calendar followed in North India.
During this festival, people across the Mathura region dance to the tunes of Lord Krishna’s music and songs and is celebrated with full devotion and colors.