It's Krishna Janamashtami today - The janamdin or birthday of our beloved Lord Krishna

Janamashtami was celebrated with fun and fervour in my childhood. My parents used to fast on the day while we used to have routine meals when small but as we grew up, we opted for falahar (only fruits meals) during the day. The dinner used to be at midnight after Lord's birth. The dinner menu was the "pacca khana of UP" which was repeated almost every year. Aloo -tamatar, boondi raita, meetha kaddu, kheer and kasaar (कसार- dry roasted wheat flour mixed with sugar and dry fruits).

Making of kasaar - dry roasting wheat flour.

There was no TV to watch the live shows from Dwarka or Mathura but AIR used to broadcast commentary, which we used to listen to while lying down on the bed in the open backyard, watching the cloudy sky of our bungalow. Invariably, it rained on janashtami. At that time, we used to pick our beds to the covered veranda. 

Shri Krishna - Painting

As young children, I remember our friends used to make small exhibits related to Lord Krishna's birth. It's usually at the home garden of any one of us. We used to start planning days ahead. There was lots of excitement in the air. Our small bunch of enthusiastic girls was all eager to bring the best of the things (mostly toys) which we needed to make the scenes related to Krishna's birth. So much churning of ideas and all without any resources like youtube, Pinterest, or Google. And the best part is that every year, our display used to be different. Every evening while packing up, we used to cover it with newspapers or cloth so that no one steals our idea. 😀

Feast after fasting 

There were many groups like us, who were preparing their Janamashtami displays. One thing was always permanent. It was Krishna Jhoola. It was my forte and I used to make it by hanging a decorated cane basket. I used to cover it with mom's yellow and green check sari and flowers from our garden.  One of the dolls was re-incarnated as baby Krishna. A rope was attached to the basket swing, covered with a bright coloured duppataa and flowers to swing and seek Krishna's blessings. 

The texts were also prepared to explain the exhibits. Once we finalize the write-ups among us, all of us got to learn it by heart and practice. It was like the annual day preparation of schools.

The Janamashtami evening was full of excitement. Our mommies used to make halwa for prasad for the visitors who come to our display. Most of the visitors were family. :) 

We used to be there against our exhibits, explaining the display ( just like a school exhibition), and our families and friends used to appreciate and admire our efforts. 

Once, everyone's parents and friends visited, we used to pack up and run to visit other displays in the neighbourhood. The prasad was a major attraction though. Now when I read about pandal hunting on Durga puja, it was something very similar. All tired by hectic activities during the day

In those days, with no TVs, "early to bed and early to rise" was followed. Still three hours for the dinner, many a time, we friends stay together at someone's home and play or just have conversations. 

Having meals at midnight was like a big celebration. Just as midnight snacking has become great fun. The midnight birthday party was great fun. 

When next day due to school, mom woke me up at the routine time, I used to crib - Kanhaiya, why did you not take birth during the day? :P 

हाथी घोडा पालकी, जय कन्हैया लाल की  

haathi ghoda palaki, jai kanhaiya lal ki  !!!😋🙏