Last Sunday Hindus all over the world celebrated The Krishna Janmashtami; the festival which marks the birth of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the second god in the Hindu triumvirate. Lord Krishna is often described as an infant or young boy playing a flute as in the Bhagavata Purana, or as a youthful prince giving direction and guidance as in the Bhagavad Gita. The stories of Krishna appear across a range of Hindu traditions. They portray him in various perspectives: a God-child, a prankster, a model lover, a divine hero, and the supreme being. The main scriptures discussing Krishna's story are the Mahabharata, the Harivamsa, the Bhagavata Purana, and the Vishnu Purana. Lord Krishna is thought to have been born in 3228 BC and his birthday is celebrated over two days starting at midnight. Each Indian region celebrates Janmashtami in its own way but most celebrations involve singing and dancing. At this time, plays are performed re-enacting scenes from Lord Krishna's early life. In temples, images of the god are bathed and placed in cradles, whilst the shankh (conch shell) is blown, bells are rung and holy mantras chanted. A special Janmashtami tradition is the human pyramid: a young man is lifted by the crowd forming the pyramid to reach a clay pot. The pot, known as a handi, is filled with buttermilk which is a food favoured by Lord Krishna. When the boy reaches the top of the pyramid, he smashes the pot and the buttermilk spills over the assembled crowd.
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