Ilford’s Hindu community celebrate birthday of Lord Krishna

Residents of all ages came together to celebrate the birthday of Lord Krishna by praying and singing on the special day, before feasting late into the night.

Worshippers celebrated Janmashtami at the Ilford Hindu Centre, Cleveland Road, Ilford on Friday when the temple was open from 8am to host special prayers and meditation sessions.

Lord Krishna, who blew the flute to catch the ears of all mankind, is known as the principal author of the Hindu religious text, the Bhagavad Gita.

Visitors paid homage to the supreme God with a shrine and candles and a free feast was provided for everyone at midnight, the time when Krishna was believed to be born, after taking part in a day-long fast.

A key part of the celebration, as practised by Hindu’s worldwide, was the singing of devotional songs and the receiving of a blessing while images of Krishna’s infancy were displayed.

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Centre chairman Bharat Pathak said: “We had a very nice time and almost 300 people came throughout the day to pray to our God and sing songs while learning more about our faith.

“We had people come from all around to take part in our celebrations, from as young as three months to 85 years of age. Some people stayed for the whole day and came dressed up to honour the occasion.”

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Lord Krishna is considered to be a warrior, hero, teacher and philosopher by Hindus and his birthday is celebrated with great importance and consideration.

Mr Pathak added: “Children learnt about his birth more than 2,000 years ago and I answered any questions they might have.

“We are finishing the celebrations by taking a statue of Lord Krishna into the sea at Brighton in September in accordance with tradition.”

The festival is celebrated annually on the eighth day of the dark fortnight of the month of Bhadra (August-September) in the Hindu calendar.

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