Krishna Janmashtami also known as Krishnashtami, Saatam Aatham, Gokulashtami,Ashtami Rohini, Srikrishna Jayanti, Sree Jayanti or sometimes merely as Janmashtami, is an annual commemoration of the birth of the Hindu deity Krishna, which is celebrated all over India.
The festival is celebrated on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) of the month of Bhadrapada (August–September; However, in both traditions it is the same day. So, we have works like Vishnudharmottara Purana saying Krishna Ashtami is in the Bhadrapada month and Skanda Purana stating that it falls in the month of Shravana) in the Hindu calendar. Rasa lila, dramatic enactments of the life of Krishna, are a special feature in regions of Mathura and Vrindavan, and regions following Vaishnavism in Manipur. While the Rasa lila re-creates the flirtatious aspects of Krishna's youthful days, the Dahi Handi celebrate God's playful and mischievous side,Janmaashtami/ Gokulashtami ( Marathi- गोकुळाष्टमी ), popularly known in Mumbai and Pune as Dahi Handi, is celebrated with enormous zeal and enthusiasm. The handi is a clay pot filled with buttermilk that is positioned at a convenient height prior to the event. The topmost person on the human pyramid tries to break the handi by hitting it with a blunt object. When the handi breaks, the buttermilk is spilled over the entire group, symbolizing their achievement through unity. Handis are set up around the city, and groups of youngsters –called Govinda Pathaks – travel around in trucks trying to break as many handis as possible during the day.
Many – such Govinda Pathaks – compete with each other, especially for the handis that dole out hefty rewards. The event, in recent times, has gathered a political flavor, and it is common for political parties and rich community groups to offer prizes amounting to lakhs of rupees.
At one such event of dahi handi utsav in Vasai, the largest Dahi Handi Mandals which attracts more than 55 groups of Govindas including a women govinda, Fr. Joe H Pereira Founder Managing Trustee was felicitated for the good work that Kripa was doing in the region of Vasai- Virar to curb Addiction and HIV. MLA Kshitiji Thakur, Mayor Narayan L. Mankar, Deputy Mayor Raut , First mayor Raju Patil along with Mr. Sanjay Jhadhav jointly felicitated Fr Joe. In his address to more than 25 thousand people, Fr. Joe Said that just like Christmas for Christians, it was Christmas for Hindus as it was the birth of Lord Krishna .” On hearing the mammoth crowd broke out in a loud applause of appreciation. Fr. Joe further recited 3 slogans from the banners displayed all over the venue.
To mark the event VRACs advisory board decided that banners and trophies by Kripa would be given and placed around 7 such mandals in the region of Vasai and Nalasopara. To support the event in case of any mishap or accidents Kripa placed its ambulance with its medical team of Dr Girish Gidwani, Dr Rakesh Chaturvedi , nurses Rubina and Sarika, who were quite occupied giving first aid, fortunately no major mishap.
Later Fr. Joe visited another mandal and gave his blessing for its success. Mrs Maisha Kanekar and Mrs Jean Pereira visited the different mandals way late night in the regions of Nalasopara and Vasai representing Kripa and VRACS.
The Advisory Board Members of VRACS especially Dr Hemant Patil, Mrs. Manisha Kanekar, Mr. Santos Walvaikar and Mr.P.G. Vanmali well supported by the Kripa team of Mozen Heredia, Jean Pereira, Rane, along with the VRACS and Kripa Staff of Vasai in organizing to coordinate with different Mandals.
As the program ended one could hear many whispers of how beautifully Fr. Joe spread the message of drug free life, Oneness and secularism.
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