Sri Jayanthi or Gokulashtami 2020

Iyengars celebrated Janmashtami today. The rest of India celebrated Janmashtami on Aug 11th this year. Usually, the difference in the days that rest of India celebrates Janmashtami and Tamil Nadu and Kerala celebrate it is a couple of days. This time its nearly a month.

I found a nice article that explains why these are different. Why Iyers and Iyengars celebrate festivals differently.

Some relevant excerpts –

“Krishna Took Birth At Midnight On The Ashtami Or The 8th Day Of The Krishnapaksha Or Dark Fortnight In The Hindu Month Of Shravan (August-September). This Auspicious Day Is Called Janmashtami.

According To Traditional Hindu Astrology, Lord Krishna Was Born When The Moon Entered The House Of Vrishabha (Taurus) At The Rohini Nakshatram (Star) On The Eight Day (Ashtami) Of The Second Fortnight Of The Month Of Sravana (This Corresponds To The Month Of Bhadrapada Krishnapaksha In North India). All These Conditions Have To Match To Celebrate Sri Krishna Jayanti But Most Of The Time These Conditions Never Match In The Calendars Of Various Hindu Sects.

Importance of Tithi –

The Two Different Dates Is Because Importance Is Given To Tithi – Krishna Paksha Ashtami Tithi In Certain Regions. Like In Maharashtra, Bengal And By Some Communities In Karnataka And Andhra Pradesh.

In North India, The Date That Has Krishna Paksha Ashtami And Moon Sign Vrishabha (Taurus) Is Given Importance.

In Kerala And Tamil Nadu, The Date That Has Krishna Paksha Ashtami And Rohini Nakshatram Is Given Importance But This Date Has To Be In Tamil Aavani Month And Malayalam Chingam Month. Celebrating Sri Krishna Jayanti On Two Different Days Is More Common In South India. In North India, To A Greater Extent There Is Uniformity.

Most People In India Celebrate Krishna Janmashtami Based On Lunar Calendar But Few Temples And Some Regions In South India Observe Krishna Janmashtami Based On Solar Calendar. In Most Years These Dates Don’t Differ By One Or Two Days But In Some Years Janmashtami Date Based On Lunar Calendar And Janmashtami Date Based On Solar Calendar Might Differ Up To One Month. “

Sri Jayanthi

For Iyengars Sri Jayanthi is a very important festival. My cousin Rohini does the entire celebration in the traditional way. Here is her offering to Krishna on Sri Jayanthi.

Sri Jayanthi

My Chitappa’s (chacha ji) daughter Aishvarya also makes it a point to celebrate all the festivals in a traditional way. Here is a picture of her Sri Jayanthi “naivedyam” (prasadam/offering) –

Sri Jayanthi platter

I made it easier for Krishna, my favourite God. I made him a healthy Oats Vegan Cake with flax seeds and Amma made the Ribbon Pakoda, her signature savoury item.

Am sure Krishna enjoyed all the offerings. We certainly did. I like all the festivals because each one has special food associated with it. I plan to blog a series on just the food, sweets and savouries that is prepared for each festival.

Sri Jayanthi Sweets/Savouries –

For Sri Jayanthi its important to make “seedai” both the sweet and salty version – but that’s a tricky one to make. I have never made it. All the savouries have to be deep fried and that’s a big no-no for me.

Thiratipal is the most important sweet made for Sri Jayanthi. “Thiratipal” is basically milk that is reduced to the consistency of a fudge. We have nearly become vegan so will have to try and make Thiratipal with some nut milk.

I relented and let Amma make the ribbon pakoda because it hardly soaks any oil.

The recipe and legend behind Thiratipal –

“….Vishnu Sithar (Periyalwar) lived in Srivilliputhur. He worked in the temple making garlands for Lord Vishnu. One day, he found a baby in the garden and decided to adopt her as his daughter. He named her “Kodhai” or “gift of Mother Earth.” Kodhai grew in the holy temple surroundings and was very devoted to Lord Vishnu. She would wear the garlands meant for lord Vishnu and think to herself that she was the bride who would marry lord Vishnu.

One day, Periyalwar saw Kodhai adorning the garland made for the lord. He considered this an act of sacrilege and was very angry with Kodhai. He made fresh garland for the lord that day. Vishnu appeared in his dream and said that he wanted the garland worn by Kodhai.

In later years, she came to be called as Andal. “இறைவனையே ஆண்டவள் (Andal)” – The girl who ruled the lord. That’s why she got the name Andal. The bride, Andal, was then taken to the Srirangam temple where she entered the sanctum sanctorum and was ushered into the Lord’s presence. Andal is also called as “சூடி கொடுத்த சுடர் கொடி”, meaning the slender lady who wore the garlands first before dedicating it to the lord.

This is in practice still today. The garland of Andal from Srivilliputhur Andal Temple is sent to Tirupati during Chitra Pournami and Azhagar Koyil during Garudotsavam. Andal was four years old when she started to compose the hymns of Thiruppavai, Nachayiyar Thirumozhi, and Vaaranam Aayiram.

During Andal’s marriage, Periyalwar sent Thirattu Paal and lentils as as “Pirandha veetu seer”, gift from the family. This practice is still followed today in weddings where Thirattupaal is sent as “seer” to the grooms place. Andal is the only lady Alwar. In the month of Margazhi (December-January), Thiruppaavai is recited in Tirupati instead of Suprabhatam.

Thirupaavai is written in Tamil by Andal. Thirattupaal is offered to Lord Vishnu in Andal Temple as Prashad. Thirattupal Tiruvizha (festival) is grandly celebrated every year in Sri Jayamkonda Nathar temple near Mannargudi.”

The above excerpt is taken from this website –

Enjoy the delicacies and Krishna is fine if you celebrate his birthday on any day :). So Happy Sri Jayanthi.

Do read my earlier blog – Historical Krishna – 5626 BCE.

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