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Every year Hare Krishna Melbourne celebrates twenty major festivals by offering special services to our Deities. We increase the fun by inviting everyone to participate and chant, dance and feast with us.

Find schedules for upcoming festivals and more about each celebration below.

Festival of The Chariots

When: Normally the 3rd Sunday in February (Festival Sunday of the
St. Kilda Festival).


Where: Catani Gardens, St. Kilda.

Event link

Enlarge poster

Schedule (2024): Sunday, Feb 18.

Chariot Parade from 1 pm near the pedestrian bridge, 4 Jacka Boulevard.

Veg/Vegan Hare Krishna Food Festival 11 am – 9 pm: Catani Gardens, 4 Jacka Boulevard (near the Captain Cook Memorial)
• Veg/Vegan Food
• FREE Music, Drama & Dance, featuring Global Party People DJs: Mantra Dance Music
• Fun for Kids
• Body Art
• Face Painting

Agenda: Sing, dance, and pull the gorgeously decorated chariot to Luna Park and return. Enjoy the Vegetarian/Vegan Food Festival in Catani Gardens, including stage programs (Global Party People DJs, dance, music, drama, children’s plays), Henna tattoos, body painting, and delicious Indian & Western vegan/vegetarian eat-in or take-away.

About: The Festival of the Chariots (Ratha-yatra) is perhaps the oldest continuously celebrated festival in the world.

As far back as human records and memory extend, each summer in the town of Puri (on the Bay of Bengal in India), the splendidly decorated chariots of Lord Jagannatha, his brother Baladeva, and his sister Subhadra, have rolled through the street to the delight of millions of pilgrims. Their towering red-and-blue silken canopies rise into the sky as drums and cymbals resound. People young and old, their eyes bright with excitement sing and dance in the street.

Over forty years ago, the Hare Krishnas brought this tradition to the streets of cities all around the world. The first time Melbourne hosted the Festival of the Chariots was in the CBD in the 1970s. In 2011, the Festival of the Chariots became a family-friendly feature of the St Kilda Festival.

Nityananda's Birthday, Nityananda Trayodasi

When: February.

Where: Hare Krishna Melbourne,

Event Link

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Schedule: Thurs Feb 22, 2024
7:00 am Deity Greeting
7:30 am Class
10:30 am Deity Bathing & Chanting
11:50 am Deities Return to Altar (Chanting)
12:30 pm Arati & Chanting
1:00 pm Delicious Vegetarian Feast

Agenda: bathe Nityananda and Gauranga, chant and dance, feast.

About: Nityananda Prabhu appeared in the village of Ekachakra, in West Bengal, India, around 1474.

We believe that Krishna appears at this time as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Balarama appears as Nityananda. Nityananda acted as Chaitanya’s principal associate in spreading the chanting of the holy names of Krishna (Harinama-sankirtana). He was merciful to all fallen, materially conditioned souls. According to the teachings of the acharyas, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu cannot be approached or understood without taking shelter of Nityananda Prabhu, who is the original guru.

Nityananda is thought of as the second body of Krishna. He manifests as Balarama to Krishna, Lakshmana to Sri Rama, and Nityananda to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

The Festival of Colours, Holi

When: February and March 2024

Where:

Sun, Feb 25 11am-4pm: Elephant Walk, 50 The Esplanade, Torquay, VIC, 3228 Festival of Colours Torquay! Tickets, Sun 25/02/2024 at 11:00 am | Eventbrite

Sat, Mar 16 11am-4pm: Akoonah Park, 2 Cardinia St, Berwick, VIC 3806 (Festival of Colours Casey! Tickets | EventBookings)

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Highlights:
• Colour Throwing, Live Music with Global Party People,
• Bhagavad-gita Card Reading,
• Face Painting & Kids Zone,
• Vegan/vegetarian snacks & shopping

Agenda: Meet people, enjoy live stage entertainment, have your face painted, get a card reading, and soak up the festive atmosphere. This fun and relaxing day is a family-friendly event. Every half-hour in front of the main stage we throw coloured powder into the air with family and friends. For the younger ones, there will be jumping castles and kids’ activities. Super delicious vegetarian/vegan food will be available for purchase throughout the day.

You may wish to buy your colours online: bring proof of purchase to the venue registration table to receive your colours.
Check out our website for more details.

About: The Festival of Colours (Holi) celebrates the oneness of the human spirit. It originates in an ancient Indian festival where Krishna, the God of play, engaged in throwing coloured powders with His cowherd friends.

This time-honoured festival celebrates the colours that bloom with the arrival of autumn and spring. Celebrating peace and harmony, and bringing people closer together, the Festival of Colours gives you a chance to discover our lifestyle. Bring your smile, an open heart, and a white t-shirt for the best results.
The Festival of Colours Torquay is proudly sponsored by the Surf Coast Shire, the Victorian Multicultural Commission, and the Great Ocean Road Coast & Parks Authority.
The Festival of Colours Casey is proudly sponsored by the Victorian State Government and the City of Casey.

The Boat Festival

When: March 

Where: Hare Krishna Valley, 1265 Dean’s Marsh Rd, Bambra 3241 (www.harekrishnavalley.com.au, 03-5288-7383).

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Event link

Schedule: Sunday, March 17, 2024, 12-3 pm.
Arati, Procession, Deities’ Boat Ride & Offerings, Kirtana, Arati, Talk, Feast.
Hare Krishna Valley Boat Festival Tickets, Sun 17/03/2024 at 12:00 pm | Eventbrite

Agenda: offer Chota Radha-Krishna a ride in a flower boat on the spring dam below the goshala, chant, dance, feast

About: Krishna performs supremely sweet pastimes in the spiritual realm in the loving association of His eternal companions. We celebrate those pastimes by arranging grand festivals for the pleasure of Krishna’s Deities and His devotees. In Autumn, when the weather is pleasant, the devotees of Hare Krishna Valley remember Radha-Krishna’s blissful boat festival and arrange a divine boat ride for Them.

Check out our Facebook page for updates.

The mission of the Hare Krishna Valley Farm Retreat is to show the spiritual and material benefits that come from simple living and high thinking. We want to create a place where anyone, regardless of religious persuasion, can experience the peace and satisfaction that come from living simply.

Gauranga's Birthday, Gaura Purnima

When: March

Where: Hare Krishna Melbourne

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Event link

Schedule: Monday, March 25, 2024
4:00 pm Arati & Kirtan
4:20 pm Class
5:15 pm Abhisheka
6:15 pm Deities Return to Altar
7:00pm Arati & Kirtan
7:30 pm Feast

Agenda: bathe the festival Deities of Nityananda and Gauranga, chant and dance, and feast.

About: Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the pioneer of the modern Hare Krishna movement, appeared in Mayapur, West Bengal over five hundred years ago. He is Krishna Himself, who appeared to introduce sankirtana (widespread congregational chanting of God’s names) as the most effective means by which anyone can achieve spiritual perfection. He never disclosed that he was the incarnation of Krishna and exemplified the life of a perfect devotee so that others could follow in His footsteps. Through His influence, many of India’s leading religious scholars and their followers became devotees of Krishna.

Rama's Birthday, Rama Navami

When: April

Where: Hare Krishna Melbourne

Event link

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Schedule: Wednesday, April 17, 2024
7:00 am Deity Greeting
7:30 am Class
10:30 am Abhisheka & Kirtan
11:50 am Deities Return to Altar
12:30pm Arati & Kirtan
1:00 pm Feast

Agenda: bathe Sita-Rama, Lakshmana, Hanuman, chant and dance, feast.

About: In ancient times, Krishna appeared as Rama, the valiant king. He is usually worshipped along with His wife Sita, younger brother Lakshmana, and His greatest devotee Hanuman. Lord Rama played the role of a perfect human being, a role model for everyone. He was an ideal son, husband, friend, and king. He set the standard for heroism, morality, and good government. He had no other interest in His mind other than to please His devotees and to serve them. The story of Rama is told in the epic Ramayana.

Nrsimhadeva's Birthday, Nrsimha Caturdasi

When: May

Where: Hare Krishna Melbourne

Event link

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Schedule: Wednesday, May 22, 2024
4:00 pm Arati & Chanting
4:20 pm Class
4:50 pm Deity Bathing
6:15 pm Deities Return to Altar
7:00 pm Arati & Chanting
7:30 pm Feast

Agenda: bathe Nrsimhadeva, chant and dance, feast.

About: In the Bhagavad-gita Krishna makes it clear that protecting His beloved devotees is not a one-time affair, that He is doing this repeatedly, age after age. He comes to protect those who have dedicated themselves to a life of spiritual service – and to correct those who try to prevent others from taking up spiritual life.

Perhaps His most misunderstood incarnation is the half-man, half-lion Nrsimhadeva. Nrsimhadeva appeared in the distant past to save His devotee, the boy-saint Prahlada, from torture and death at the hands of the despotic king Hiranyakashipu, who was also Prahlada’s father.

Hiranyakashipu had performed extreme austerities to gain the benediction that he would be protected from death in almost unlimited ways. Because he was so wicked, however, especially in his treatment of the Lord’s devotees, Krishna personally came and killed Hiranyakashipu in a way no one could have imagined.

This form may be very frightening to the person in the street but it’s very endearing to devotees. Nrsimhadeva displays the auspiciousness, mercy, and kindness that the Lord brings to his pure devotees. He is the remover of obstacles from the path of devotion and awards attraction for chanting Hare Krishna.

Wyndham Vale Ratha Yatra

When: March (2024 date to be advised).

Where: part of Wyndham Holi Mela, President’s Park, Wyndham Vale.

Agenda: pull Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra on Their chariot,
arati ceremony
chanting, dancing, and feasting
fire sacrifice for purification
Bhagavad-gita card readings
face painting and henna tattoos

About: part of the annual Wyndham Holi Mela, Wyndham Hare Krishna hosts Ratha-yatra. At Ratha Yatra, we all have a chance to pull Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra on Their chariot and chant, dance, and feast for Their pleasure!

Wyndham Holi Mela, a free community event, spreads the message of peace, harmony, and celebration through the vibrant colors of the festival. It brings many communities with diverse cultural backgrounds together to celebrate multi-cultural Australia. Our festival encourages everyone to develop a sense of identity and belonging and to share it and inspire others.

Wyndham Holi is an alcohol-free, family-friendly event, providing a fun-filled atmosphere for people to enjoy dancing, playing with colours, and tasting delicious foods. You and your family can also enjoy kids’ rides, games, networking, and diverse cultures and traditions. You can also support local businesses and community organisations.

The Swing Festival, Jhulana-yatra

When: four to five evenings in August-September

Where: Hare Krishna Melbourne

Schedule (2024): to be advised, 7 pm nightly.

Agenda: swinging the festival deities of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa on a beautifully decorated Jhulana (swing).

About: Just like Snāna-yātrā in December, Jhulana-yātrā offers us a special opportunity to personally serve the Deities. These few evenings are cherished because we step forward in groups of families and friends to swing Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa and give Them pleasure. Other than this time, only qualified priests are allowed to serve Them.

During Jhulana-yātrā, we celebrate Kṛṣṇa’s loving pastimes with His topmost devotee, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, in Vraja. If you travel to Rādhā-kuṇḍa in Govardhana (south of Delhi in India), you will find a permanent Jhulana commemorating this pastime.

Swing festival

Balarama's Birthday, Balarama Purnima

When: August-September

Where: Hare Krishna Melbourne

Schedule (2024): to be advised.

Subject to change closer to the date:
7:00 am Deity Greeting
7:30 am Class
9:30 am Kīrtana (Chanting)
10.30 am Abhiṣeka (Deity Bathing)
12:30pm Ārati & Kīrtana
1:00 pm Feast
7:00 pm Jhulana-yātrā (Swing Festival)

Agenda: bathing the festival deities of Jagannātha-Baladeva-Subhadrā; chanting, dancing, feast.

About: Lord Balarāma (Baladeva) appears in Vṛndāvana as Kṛṣṇa’s elder brother, His ‘second body’. Balarāma assists in Lord Kṛṣṇa’s innumerable spiritual pastimes in both the spiritual and material realms. He is described as a symbol of strength, an obedient son, an ideal brother and husband, and an ideal man. Balarāma is said to have a whitish complexion and to wear blue cloth. The Vedas tell us that Balarāma is the eighth avatāra of Viṣṇu. Balarāma usually wields a plow to till the land and a mace for battle.

Krishna's Birthday, Sri Krishna Janmastami

When: August-September

Where: Hare Krishna Melbourne in Albert Park, Werribee, and Berwick

Enlarge the poster here.

Schedule (2024): to be advised.

Subject to change closer to the date:
At our Albert Park Temple:
Extended Darshanas & Prasadam
4:00 pm Arati & Kirtana (Chanting)
4:30 pm Cultural Program
7:00 pm Arati & Kirtana
7:30 pm Abhisheka (Deity Bathing) & Kirtana
9:00 pm Arati & Kirtana
Midnight Arati

This year, by popular demand, our Janmastami celebrations are coming to your doorstep!

In the Western Suburbs.
Wyndham Hare Krishna invites you to celebrate Janmastami from 5:00 pm till 1:00 am at the Werribee Functions & Events Centre (2-10 Bulban Rd, Werribee 3030). The venue has ample free parking and is easily accessible by public transport. Merciful Radha-Karunasindhu will give Their darshana and Chota Radha-Krishna festival Deities will accept an abhisheka. You’ll be able to make personal puja offerings to Krishna on His birthday. Our program includes aratis, kirtanas and cultural performances, as well as free, hot prasadam prepared by our best cooks in the Temple kitchen and offered to Sri-Sri Radha-Vallabha. Register your attendance at bit.ly/07sep23 or get more information by contacting Guru (0404 919 229).

In the Eastern Suburbs.
ISKCON is bringing Janmastami to the Eastern Suburbs for the first time. You can celebrate with us from 5:00 pm till 12:00 am at the Akoondah Park Centre (2 Cardinia St, Berwick 3806). Visit us on social media at @iskcon_janmashtami. Complete your free registration at tinyurl.com/JANM23 or contact Nitin (0400 818 670) or Anu 0420 681 572 for more information.

In the Inner Suburbs.
For those of you in the Inner Melbourne Suburbs, Hare Krishna Melbourne (197 Danks St, Albert Park 3206) invites you to celebrate Janmastami from 4:30 am Thursday, September 7, till 1:00 am, Friday, September 8. There you can enjoy our usual programs as scheduled above.

Please be aware that our Temple is in a residential neighbourhood. The City of Port Phillip monitors parking near the Temple on weekends and festival days. Every 10 minutes from 5 pm – midnight on Janmastami day, free shuttle taxis will run from Lakeside Carpark to the corner of Kerferd Rd and Danks St. There’ll also be a drop-off-only service to Spencer St Station every 30 minutes. Please take advantage of this.

And what is Sri Krishna Janmastami without serving together? Your help is vital. To offer services – from cutting up vegetables for the Deities, to serving prasadam to guests or maintaining security – we need you. Volunteer at [email protected].

Our Fourth Venue.
Our fourth venue is the St Kilda Town Hall (99A Carlisle St, St Kilda 3182). Join us there from 5:00 pm till 9:30 pm on Sunday, September 3 for our annual Janmastami cultural performances and delicious prasadam.

Janmastami agenda: bathing the festival deities of Radha and Krishna; extended Deity darshanas, chanting, dancing, feast.

About: Janmastami is by far our biggest festival of the year. We host thousands of guests across our Melbourne-wide venues throughout the day.

Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He appeared in Vrindavana (south of Delhi in India) to please His devotees, to attract everyone, and to re-establish the principles of religion. He is famous for His sweet pastimes as a cowherd boy, as the killer of many demons, and as the lover of Srimati Radharani.

The Janmastami program at the Temple (enlarge the brochure here).

Our Founder's Birthday, Vyasa-puja

When: August-September

Where: St Kilda Town Hall (99A Carlisle St, St Kilda 3182).

Schedule (2024): to be advised.

Subject to change closer to the date:
10:00 am Readings & Homages
1:00 pm Pushpanjali (Flower Offering) & Guru Puja
1:30 pm Feast

Agenda: offering of homages, Guru-puja, chanting, dancing, feast.

About: Vyasa means guru, our original guru. When the spiritual master’s birthday is observed, it is called Vyasa-puja because the spiritual master is representative of Vyasa.

On this day we share our realisations about our Founder’s mood and mission and re-dedicate our lives to his service.

Radharani's Birthday, Radhastami

When: September-October

Where: Hare Krishna Melbourne

Enlarge poster here.

Schedule (Melbourne 2023): Saturday, September 23.
7:00 am Deity Greeting
7:30 am Class
10:30 am Pushpanjali (Flower Bath) & Kirtana (Chanting)
11:50 am Deities Return to Altar (Kirtana)
12:30 pm Arati & Kirtana
1:00 pm Feast
4:30 pm Arati & Kirtana
7:00 pm Arati & Kirtana
7:30 pm Flower Dress Auction
8:00 pm Kirtana
9:00 pm Arati & Kirtana

Agenda: Flower bath for the festival deities of Radha and Krishna, chanting, dancing, feast.

About: On Srimati Radharani’s birthday, our devotees offer unique, hand-made flower outfits to Radha-Vallabha and the festival Deities of Radha-Krishna. This is a special day.

Srimati Radharani is the topmost devotee of Krishna. She appeared in Varshana, in Vraja, south of Delhi in India.  She is Krishna’s internal pleasure-giving potency (hladini shakti), who controls Krishna by Her love. Srimati Radharani accompanies Krishna in all his incarnations. In Vraja, She is a cowherd girl. All the cowherd girls are purely spiritual personalities.

The Month of Damodara

When: October-November   

Where: Hare Krishna Melbourne

Enlarge poster here.

Schedule (Melbourne 2023): Sunday, Oct 29 – Monday, Nov 27: offer lamps at 7 am & 7 pm daily

Agenda: offer lamps and chant the glories of Lord Damodara together.

About: the month of Damodara, also known as Kartik, is a month for deepening one’s love for Krishna. Devotees of Krishna consider Kartik to be the holiest month of the year. During this month, devotees make extra vows, perform extra spiritual activities, and worship Krishna in His form as a young boy, Damodara, who was once bound at the waist by His mother, Yasoda, as a punishment for His mischievous childhood pastimes.

Diwali

When: October-November   

Where: Hare Krishna Melbourne

Enlarge poster here.

Schedule (Melbourne 2023): Monday November 13.
4.00 pm   Arati & Chanting
5.00 pm   Class
6.00 pm   Feast
7.00 pm   Candlelit Arati & Offering of Lamps

Agenda: arati, offer lamps, and chant together.

About: Diwali, meaning ‘festival of lights,’ is one of the most widely celebrated occasions in the year. Diwali is observed not only by Hindus, but also by Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs. The festival marks the traditional New Year’s Eve.

A central theme for Hindus is derived from the epic Ramayana. It was on the evening of this day that Lord Rama returned to His kingdom, Koshala. With his huge army headed by Hanuman, the Lord triumphantly entered Ayodhya, His capital, having rescued His beloved wife, Sita, from the demon-king Ravana. Although the night was dark, Rama’s overjoyed subjects illuminated the entire city with lamps to receive their Lord with great pomp, splendour, and celebration.

Read more about the story of Diwali.

Govardhana-puja, Worship of Govardhana Hill

When: October-November

Where: Hare Krishna Melbourne.

Enlarge poster here.

Schedule (Melbourne 2023): Saturday, November 18.

4:30 pm   Arati & Chanting
5:00 pm   Circumambulation of Govardhana Hill
6:00 pm   Feast
7:00 pm   Arati & Offering of Lamps

Snana yatra

Agenda:  chanting and dancing around a hill of sweets, feast.

About: on Govardhan-puja we celebrate the glories of the holy hill of Govardhana, which is in Vraja, just south of India’s capital, Delhi. When Lord Krishna appeared on earth, Vraja was His home. It is said that when He was only seven, to protect His community from torrential storms, he lifted Govardhana Hill to shelter them.

At Hare Krishna Melbourne, we make a replica of the hill from sweets and cakes and celebrate by chanting and dancing around it! Then we feast and distribute the sweets to all present! Don’t miss this party!

Srila Prabhupada's Disappearance Day

When: October-November 

Where: Hare Krishna Melbourne

Enlarge poster here.

Schedule (Melbourne 2023): Friday November 17.

10:30 am Songs & Glorifications
12:30 pm Guru Puja & Chanting
1:30 pm Feast
6:00 pm Lilamrita Readings (in Srila Prabhupada’s room)
7:00 pm Offering of Lamps
7.30 pm Arati to Srila Prabhupada (in Srila Prabhupada’s room)

Agenda: offering of homages, Guru-puja, chanting, dancing, feast, then evening readings & arati in Srila Prabhupada’s room.

About: ISKCON’s Founder-Acarya, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, passed on in November 1977 in Vrindavana, India.

People may say, ‘The devotee is also dying, and the non-devotee is also dying. What is the difference?’ The example is given that a cat catches a rat in her mouth, and at the same time, she carries her cubs in her mouth. Superficially, we can see that the same mouth is being used, but one is feeling comfortable being carried by the mother, and another is feeling their death knell. Similarly, when they are dying, an advanced devotee’s feeling is that they are being transferred to the spiritual world, whereas many of us may feel that death is dragging us into a hellish condition of life.

Therefore, according to Krishna-conscious culture, the appearance and disappearance of devotees are considered all-auspicious. We believe that the appearance and disappearance of Krishna – who is complete in eternality, knowledge, and bliss – and that of His pure representatives are causes for celebration. While there is no need to lament, at the same time we feel pangs of separation from His Divine Grace.

Go Puja/Worshipping the Cows

When: November 

Where: Hare Krishna Valley, 1265 Dean’s Marsh Rd, Bambra 3241, www.harekrishnavalley.com.au, 03-5288-7383

Enlarge poster here.

Agenda: arati to the farm Deities, procession to the cows, arati to the cows, feeding the cows, feast.

Schedule (Hare Krishna Valley 2023): Sunday November 5.
12:00 pm Arati
12:30 pm Procession to the cows
1:00 pm Go Puja
1:30 pm Class
2:00 pm Procession back
2:30 pm Feast

Book your ticket at https://www.eventbrite.com.au/…/festival-of-the-cows…

About: these simple, gentle creatures eat only grass and produce nutritious satisfying milk. Out of love, the cow produces more milk than her calf can drink. Even her stool and urine have unlimited agricultural and medicinal uses.

The mission of our farm retreat, Hare Krishna Valley, is to show the spiritual and material benefits that result from protecting and caring for the cows. To do this, we want to create a place where everyone can see this demonstrated, a place where anyone, regardless of religious persuasion, can experience the peace and satisfaction that comes from personally caring for cows. We consider cows to be our mothers because they sustain us with milk from the time we are infants. Is there anyone who can say that they have not been nourished by that health-giving drink?

The Vedic literatures describe that the demigods and demi goddesses reside in the body of a cow. As such, a cow is regarded as divine and holy. Krishna Himself gave more importance to the worship of cows than to the worship of Indra, the king of the demigods. Therefore, in India, millions of Vedic followers worship Mother Cow at least once a year on the day of Govardhana Puja. Locally, because we celebrate both Govardhana Puja in Melbourne and Go Puja at Hare Krishna Valley, we have twice the fun.

The Bathing Festival, Snana-yatra

When: usually Boxing Day (December 26) 

Where: Hare Krishna Melbourne

Enlarge poster here.

Agenda: Bathing festival, chanting, dancing, feast

Schedule (Melbourne 2023): Tuesday, December 26.
10:00 am-12:00 pm Deity Bathing
12:30 pm Hati-vesha Arati & Chanting
1:00-1:45 pm Panihati Auction
1:45-2:00 pm Deity Procession
2:00 pm Feast

About: prior to Ratha-yatra, Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra enjoy a bathing festival (snana-yatra).

Snana-yatra is unique because it is the only opportunity that we all have to personally bathe the Deities. Other than on this day, only qualified priests are allowed to bathe Them.

According to Skanda Purana, when King Indradyumna installed the original wooden deities of Jagannatha-Baladeva-Subhadra, he arranged a bathing ceremony. This day is the birthday of Lord Jagannatha. So, every year on the Purnima of Jyestha month, it is commemorated by a special bath for Lord Jagannatha.

It is said that a profound scholar and staunch devotee of Lord Ganesh visited Puri during Snana Yatra. The King of Puri asked the scholar to accompany him to see Lord Jagannatha, but the scholar refused under the pretext that he wouldn’t worship any God other than his worshippable deity, Lord Ganesh. Somehow, he was persuaded and brought before the bathing platform. To everyone’s surprise, Lord Jagannatha appeared with an elephantine form that resembled Ganesh. Ever since, during Snana Yatra when the sacred bath is performed, the Deities are dressed like elephants – resembling Ganesh.

In Melbourne, Jagannatha-Baladeva-Subhadra return to the altar following Their bath. Then They are dressed in elephant masks and night clothes ready to retire. Then They are offered a wonderful feast before retiring.

After the bathing ceremony, we like to believe that Jagannatha falls ill. He is taken in procession to His private room, where only a few priests can serve Him. During this time maintenance is performed on the body of the Deity. This is called nava-yauvana. The two-week period when this is carried out is called Anavasara.

Traditionally Ratha-yatra marks the time when Lord Jagannatha returns to public view.

Panihati Auction

When: December

Where: Hare Krishna Melbourne

Enlarge poster here.

Agenda: offer delicious offerings in hand-painted pots to Jagannatha-Baladeva-Subhadra; auction the prasadam.

Schedule (Melbourne 2023): Tuesday, December 26.
1:00 – 1:45 pm Auction of Lord Jagannatha’s Special Mahaprasadam

About: the pots are painted by Melbourne’s best vaishnava artists: 14 delicious flavours (featuring a new surprise flavour).

We call these dishes a Panihati or Chida-dahi feast. Panihati is a village in West Bengal, India. In the sixteenth century, when Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared to propagate the Sankirtana movement, Panihati became a major centre for Gaudiya Vaishnavas.

Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, a personal associate of Mahaprabhu and a devotee of the highest order, went to meet Nityananda Prabhu at Panihati. Lord Nityananda saw Raghunatha’s humility and renunciation. He called him and said “Raghunatha dasa! You are hiding like a thief. Now I have caught hold of you. Come here. I shall punish you today.’’ Then Lord Nityananda forcibly caught him and lovingly put His lotus feet on the head of Raghunatha Dasa. He ordered Raghunatha to celebrate a big festival and serve all the devotees – with yogurt and chipped rice (chida-dahi). To this day, Vaisnavas celebrate this festival to commemorate this wonderful pastime. Traditionally, the Panihati festival is celebrated on the thirteenth day of the bright moon in the month of Jyeshta (May-June).

This is summer India. In Melbourne that’s December. We take the opportunity of Lord Jagannatha’s annual dressing in His elephant dress to offer Him a wonderful chida-dahi feast. Then we hold a fun-filled auction of the feast to support the Deities, and finally, everyone shares Krishna’s special prasadam.

New Year's Day

When: January

Where: Hare Krishna Melbourne

Enlarge poster here.

Agenda: arati, chanting, fire sacrifice, feast

Schedule (Melbourne 2023): Monday, January 1.
4:00 pm Fire Sacrifice & Arati
6:00 pm Feast
7:00 pm Arati & Chanting

About: you won’t be surprised that we celebrate New Year by remembering Krishna and chanting His holy names!

When we chant, every day can feel like New Year because Krishna is ever fresh and ever new. You may also find that you become intoxicated by hearing Krishna’s eternally blissful and enlightening names.

Most New Year’s resolutions take the form of “do’s”—things I resolve to do—and “don’ts”—things I resolve to not do. Vedic wisdom tells us that all do’s and don’ts should support one main do—always remember Krishna—and one main don’t—never forget Him. Happy New Year!

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