Krishna Janmashtami also known as Gokulashtami, is an annual Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu. Janmashtami is celebrated by fasting, singing, praying together, preparing and sharing special food (prasad), night vigils and visiting Krishna or Vishnu temples.
Janmashtami (popularly known as “Gokulashtami” as in Maharashtra) is celebrated in cities such as Mumbai and Pune. Dahi Handi is celebrated the day after Krishna Janmashtami. The term literally means “earthen pot of yoghurt”. The festival gets this popular regional name from legend of baby Krishna. According to it, he would seek and steal milk products such as yoghurt and butter and people would hide their supplies high up out of the baby’s reach. Krishna would try all sorts of creative ideas in his pursuit, such as making human pyramids with his friends to break these high hanging pots.
In Maharashtra, and other western states in India, this Krishna legend is played out as a community tradition on Janmashtami, where pots of yoghurt are hung high up, sometimes with tall poles or from ropes hanging from second or third level of a building and teams of youth and boys called the “Govindas” go around to these hanging pots, climb one over another and form a human pyramid, then break the pot. (Source :Wikipedia)
Special food or prasad is made on Gokulashtami to offer to Lord Krishna. Among the many recipes, today I will share with you one of my mother’s recipe – Magaj barfi. I remember waiting eagerly for mom to offer the prasad to Lord Krishna and then eating it joyfully.
Janmashtami Prasad – Magaj Barfi
A sweet made for offering to Lord Krishna.
- 1 Cup Sugar (To make syrup)
- 1/2 Cup Magaj or Watermelon Seeds
- 1 Cup Grated dry coconut
- 1/2 Cup Roasted sliced Almonds (Optional)
- 1/2 Cup Roasted sliced Pistachios (Optional)
- Water (To make Sugar syrup)
- 1 Tsp Ghee or unsalted butter (For greasing)
- Take a heavy bottomed pan and add sugar to this. Add water just enough to cover the sugar.
- Boil to melt sugar and make a three string consistency syrup.
- Add the dry fruits and grated coconut and mix well.
- Quickly transfer to a greased plate and flatten using a flat bowl.
- After the mixture cools down a little, cut into even pieces or break into uneven pieces and serve.