Dahi Handi- Recreating Krishna’s Childhood Memories
Krishna Janmashtami is one of the most beloved and celebrated festival of India and various regions add various colors to this festival. In Maharashtra a specific event is organized for the day called Dahi Handi which means an earthen pot of curd or butter. People of Maharashtra and Goa celebrate KrishnaKrishna
It is described that there are three aspects of the Supreme that must...
Janmashtami for two days. They first make preparations for the home coming of Krishna, at midnight of he is believed to take birth and one the next day Dahi Handi is celebrated. The day is also known as Gopalkala.
Krishna, as a child, was very notorious. He loved curd and butter and when he had finished everything at his own home, he use to roam around the village with his friends to steal food from the homes of other villagers. He was so fond of curd and butter that he made a troop of his friends in order to make the whole process of stealing easier. After various incidents, the housewives became very angry and complained to his mother, Yashoda. She punished him numerous times but he didn’t stop with his activities.
Women living in the neighborhood thought of a new scheme where they started hanging the earthen pot filled with butter or curd on some height. Krishna was just a kid with a small height and women thought he would never be able to steal again but he came up with an idea. Along with his friends, he use to form a human pyramid. One boy use to stand on the top of another and Krishna stood at the uppermost boy, being the closest to the pot. He then use to break the pot to spill all the content of the food on ground. All the members of the troop then consumed the food while celebrating their success.
In modern days, people recreate such situations where the ladies of a society hang the pots filled with curd at a great height. They are decorated with flowers and some notes of the native currency is also placed on the top. Young boys get collected in a group and try to form human pyramid. They all wear clothes of the same color so that distinguishing their own troop members in the crowd becomes easy. Devotees gather up to enjoy the event while cheering the troop and encouraging them to break the pot in one go. Women standing on heights throw color or milk on the young lads trying to make them fail in their attempt. Everyone keeps shouting the slogan “Govinda aala re”. It is like a warning that Krishna, represented by boys, is here so keep your pots as safe as possible.
Boys are allowed to break the pot only with a blunt object, mostly with a coconut. When the boys are finally able to complete their task, people rejoice in their achievement and gift them eatables and clothes. A cash price is also sponsored by the society members well in advance. Singing and dancing is also a part of the day. Devotees and tourists from faraway places come to experience this festival first hand.
This ritual has now taken a competitive spirit where various groups train themselves for the event. They practice throughout the year and on the day of Dahi handi visit various localities and collect as much money as possible. Cash prices are at times as high as one lakh rupees. In Mumbai alone, more than 5000 pots are placed at heights in various localities and more than 700 troops attempt to win money.