Tanjore Painting of Lord Bala Krishna made by Latha Narasimhan (me!!) Update: Thanks SeeC, for suggesting that I put a web optimized image with a copyright.
This year (update: refers to year 2007) Srijayanthi also known as Gokulashtami/Janmashtami/Krishnashtami falls on 4th September.As always I am posting the details and important recipes (prasaadams or offerings) of Krishna jayathi or Janmashtami or Gokulashtami, a few days ahead of the festival. This is for people who come here looking for these recipes.
The following recipes have been posted on The Yum Blog, click through for the recipes.
Lord Krishna’s Birthday is celebrated by Hindus all over the world! In the North this is celebrated as Janmashtami. In the South, the Iyers call this festival Janmashtami or Gokulashtami and the Iyengars celebrate as Srijayanthi or Krisnajayanthi.
In Karnataka, Iyengars place the idol of Lord Krishna in a mandapam and decorate him with the Bhakshanam (Snacks and Sweets in Tamil) they prepare for the festival. Garlands and thoranams are made out of Murrukus and Kodubales!
A few decades earlier back the children in the household used to decorate a chaparam(mandapam that can be carried on your shoulders), place the image of Lord Krishna in it and carry it around the streets. As a child I remember we too built these chaparams for the lord. My father as usual performed a Aaradanai (a poojai performed for Saligramam which is a divine stone considered to be a manifestation of Lord Vishnu) and a variety of Bhakshanams(sweets and snacks) were offered as prasaadam. These days children do a lot of craft work for their school project, but there is no inclination to build a chaparam for the lord.
For children Srijayanthi definitely means a lot of snacking and jolly time for the sweet tooth. Snacks prepared usually have rice flour as main ingredient. Minimum five varieties of fresh fruits are offered. Naval pazham (Syzygium cumini , Skeels, Myrtaceae) the lords favourite fruit is definitely included. To know the medicinal properties of this fruit please visit this link.
The pooja is performed in the late evening as Krishna was born at midnight. Generally most of the sweets and savouries are prepared on that day only. The front yard is decorated by drawing a kolam (rice flour drawings on ground), called ezhakoolam. This is done using soaked rice ground to a fine paste and mixed with lot of water. A white cloth is used to soak the paste and make the drawing. Krishna’s feet is drawn from the front yard to the pooja room, indicating that the lord is entering our home. In my home my son has been performing the pooja for the last 5 years. We do the Srikrishna Ashtothra Naamavali (chanting of 108 names of Lord Krishna) for the Pooja.
We are hosting a virtual food event for the festival, and I am sure all my blogger friends will send their entries in great numbers. So while I prepare a huge array of sweets and snacks, I will post only a few in the coming days. My blogger friends will bring out the best of their culinary skills and post other great recipes which are prepared for this festival.. Click here for details of the event.