Today is the birthday of Lord Krishna. One of the many Gods of Hinduism. This is one of the biggest festivals celebrated in India during the year. Ten days ago, another big festival named “Raksha Bandhan” took place. I participated in both. Surprisingly, getting an Indian brother in the last mentioned.
Raksha Bandhan (Festival of Brothers and Sisters)
I arrived to India. The next day suddenly I was celebrating Raksha Bandhan, with a big Indian family with uncles, aunts, and cousins. Before I knew it, I had an Indian brother.
Without actually understanding too much, I was a part of the Hindu festival that celebrates the love and duty between brothers and sisters. On this day, the sister tie a rakhi (sacred thread) on her brother’s wrist. Thereafter, praying to express her love and her wish for the well-being of her brother. In return, the brother ritually pledges to protect and take care of his sister under all circumstances. He also give her a gift of money.
Usually, the men and women are biologically related, but sometimes this ritual is also between unrelated persons. Unaware of the practices, I was asked to put this sacred thread on one of the unknown men there. They asked me to say some words in a language I did not understand. Suddenly I had a brother. The whole family were laughing. Being sister and brother, due to this ritual, is a serious thing. My brother, Vijay, took his duty and responsibility very proudly.
This festival always fall on the full moon day of the Shravan month of the Hindu lunisolar calendar. There are different theories of the history of the tradition related to the past mythology of the Hindu religion. The most famous and relied upon story was that Deity Lakshmi tied a rakhi onto the wrist of King Bali from hell and by doing this she made him her brother, and liberated Lord Narayan i.e. Vishnu.
Birthday of Lord Krishna
Just a few days later, I was there to celebrate the birthday of Lord Krishna. The festival is celebrated in the evening as Lord Krishna was born at midnight. Most people fast on this day and eat only after the midnight puja.
The children at the school I worked were dressed up in beautiful costumes as Lord Krishna, and some of the other Gods in Hinduism.
A part of the tradition is to make a human pyramid and break an earthen pot (handi) filled with buttermilk (dahi), which is tied at a convenient height. The person at the top tries to break the pot by hitting it with a blunt object. When the pot breaks, the buttermilk is spilled over the entire group. This event is based on the legend of the child-god Krishna stealing butter.
People give offerings to Lord Krishna on this day. Fruits, betel and butter, is often used, due to that they believe this is Krishna’s favourites.
I have to admit, I am still, a bit confused about all the Gods within Hinduism, and what they stand for. As well as some of the practices they have of this religion, However, it was very nice to take part of this two important events, getting a little bit more understanding of the Hindus interesting but complicated ways and beliefs.