Thursday, August 13, 2009

Happy Janmashtami

Today is yet another festivity for Indians - Janmashtami, the birthday of the Hindu Lord Krishna. When I came home from school, one of my apartment neighbors was preparing a special kolam for the occasion. Baby-sized footprints made from watered-down rice flour adorned the steps leading up to her floor. The painted footprints led right to a special kolam which had footprints in the middle of the design as well. Those families with babies use real footprints, placing the baby's feet in the rice flour mixture and encouraging them to walk towards the door. South Indian women carry out this decoration with joy, knowing that Lord Krishna has blessed the family by entering the house.
Most households will also prepare some sweets said to have been enjoyed by Krishna. Butter and other dairy products are often a main ingredient. Traditionally the sweets were made by the women, but now (like my neighbor) it is often more convenient to buy them from a local sweet shop. Chanting, devotional songs, and dancing often accompanies this festival.

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