Dahi Handi 2020: Origin, History and Significance

Dahi Handi 2020: Janamshtami's major part of the celebration is Dahi Handi but this year due to COVID-19 pandemic Dahi Handi Samanvay Samiti has decided that no human pyramid will be formed this year and cancelled the Dahi Handi celebrations because it will be difficult to maintain social distancing.
Aug 12, 2020 12:24 IST
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Dahi Handi
Dahi Handi

Dahi Handi 2020: This time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dahi Handi celebrations are cancelled in Maharashtra. Every year on Dahi Handi celebration young men and women of all age groups formed pyramids to break the earthen pots for a chance to win fat cash prizes. The first time due to coronavirus there is a restriction on Dahi Handi. And of course, no celebration means no shopping and this will hit businesses hard. Let us have a look at the origin, history, and significance of Dahi Handi.

Janmanshtami and Dahi Handi

As we know that Janmashtami marks the birth of Lord Krishna who is lovingly known as Kanha. It is believed that he is the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. He was born to make people free of Mathura from the cruel King Kansa. Lord Krishna was the son of Devaki, Kansa's sister, and Vasudeva. He was raised by his foster parents namely Nand and Yashoda in Vrindavan. Lord Krishna made people free from the evils of Kansa and also he played a crucial role in ensuring the victory of Pandavas in Mahabharata. Janmashtami is celebrated across the country with full enthusiasm and one of the famous ways to celebrate the festival is Dahi Handi. 

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About Dahi Handi
Janmashtami or Gokulashtami marks the birth of Hindu deity Lord Krishna and also marked by the famous Dahi Handi ritual mainly in the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat.  An earthen pot or Handi filled with curd (dahi), Makhan (butter), etc. hung at a height. Groups of young men and women climb on the top of each other forming human pyramids and break an earthen pot filled with butter or curd.

Basically, the handi is placed around 30 ft or 40 ft from the ground. Various teams compete to form the highest pyramid and crowds cheers them, gathers in the ritual with the same spirit. The Dahi handi celebration is also followed by folk dances and special 'jhaanki' to admire Lord Krishna. But this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic the celebrations might not be held.

Dahi Handi: History

Dahi Handi ritual is a tribute to young Krishna's love for butter. When Lord Krishna was growing in Vrindavan, he used to steal butter (Makhan) and other dairy products from his neighbours and other villagers and so because of this habit he earned the name 'Makhan Chor'. The mother of Lord Krishna Yashoda was frustrated by the stealing habit and so she used to bind Lord Krishna. She also told other women in the village to tie their butter and dairy products at a height so that he cannot reach it. 

But this didn't stop Lord Krishna! He climbed with the help of his friends and managed to get the pot's Makhan or other dairy products. Therefore, devotees from across the country mainly in Maharashtra and Gujarat attempt to reconstruct or re-enact and break the pot filled with butter or dairy products. And so, the Dahi Handi ritual is celebrated in the remembrance of the act of Lord Krishna by forming a human pyramid with a group of men and women and break the earthen pot containing butter or other dairy products.

Dahi Handi: Significance

Dahi Handi is a major ritual of the Janmashtami festival that represents the life and deeds of a young Lord Krishna. People practice one week or so before the actual event. In this ritual, human pyramids are formed with focus, energy, enthusiasm, and dedication. It is said that one pyramid can have as many as nine layers. In the lower tiers, sturdy people are kept who can bear the weight on their shoulders and on the top has an energetic child who can catch and break the Handi. People who form a pyramid are known as 'Govinda Pathak' or Govinda. Several teams participate every year in the event and winner gets cash prizes.

Therefore now we have come to know that the entire ritual is based on the life of young Lord Krishna and his actions in the pursuit of 'Makhan'. It is a sweet reminder of the endearing deeds of Lord Krishna.

Happy Janmashtami 2020: History, Significance and Celebration


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