Janmashtami celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna and will be celebrated on 11th and 12th August this year. The festival is celebrated by Hindus all over the world and many devotees fast on this day and offer prays to God. This day signifies goodwill and the victory of good over evil. Temples and shrines at homes and colonies are decorated with flowers and lights. People gather during the day and worship the idol, enact plays and sing songs to celebrate the festival.
Dahi handi (a pot of curd) is also one form of celebrating the occasion. It has become a festive ritual and is celebrated mainly in states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. On the day of Janmashtami, a group of young boys form a human pyramid and attempt to break an earthen pot filled with dahi. The pot is placed at a height of around 30 feet from the ground.
The ritual of breaking the pot of curd represents Lord Krishna’s childhood days and legends of him stealing butter, ghee, and curd as a baby. He loved dairy products and would often steal them and that’s why he was also called ‘Makhan Chor’ which translates to butter thief. To hide such food items, it is believed that the community women hid the milk products and hung them in pots at height, he could not easily reach.
However, the child-god Krishna and his friends would get together and form human pyramids to break hung pots and steal the milk products. Over the years, Dahi Handi has become a ritual of Krishna Janmashtami. The ritual imitates Krishna’s childhood days. The group of boys are called mandals and they go around different localities to break the handi. Often there is also a price to break the pot and has become a fun way to celebrate the festival.