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The festival of Radha Ashtami is celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of Radha, the consort of Lord Krishna. The festival falls on the eighth day of the bright fortnight of Bhadrapada month of Hindu calendar. The festival is celebrated with much devotion and fervor in north India, especially in the regions of Vrindavan, Mathura and Barsana which was the birthplace of Radha.
In 2013, Radha Ashtami will be celebrated on 13th September.
Radha, the daughter of Vrishbhanu and Kirtikumari, is renowned and worshipped as the childhood lover of Lord Krishna. Although she was born long befor Krishna, it is said that she opened her eyes only after his birth. Her love and devotion towards Lord Krishna is considered to be the best example of pious, selfless and divine love. It is said that Lord Krishna was so moved by her love that before leaving Vrindavan, he blessed her that whenever they were mentioned together, her name would always precede his own.
There is a very popular legend about Radha Ashtami, which depicts the level of devotion that Radharani had for Lord Krishna. It is said the once the gopis, out of their jealousy for the love shared by Radha and Krishna, gave her a pot of hot milk on the pretext that it was sent by Krishna. On hearing this Radha drank the hot milk without any query. Happy about being able to hurt Radha, the gopis on their way home went to see Krishna. To their surprise, Krishna had developed blisters in his mouth because of the hot milk drunk by Radha. It is said that the Gopis then learned that the love of Radha and Krishna was so divine that there was they had become one in every sense of the word.
Radha Ashtami Celebrations
The festival of Radha Ashtami is celebrated with great devotion by the Hindus and many people observe a fast on this day. People offer prayers to both Radharani and Shri Krishna and in some parts they even enact the Raas Leela, the popular dance which Lord Krishna was known to perform with the gopis.
In Barsana, the birth place of Radharani, people are not allowed to take bath in the holy Radha Kund on this day. They need to wait until midnight for a dip in the sacred waters of the kund, which is believed to be the personal pond of Radharani.
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