According to the Hindu calendar, the festival of Govardhan Pooja, also called Annakut, falls on the first lunar day in the month of Kartik. Annakut or Govardhan Pooja, is usually celebrated on the fourth day of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. This day also marks the first day of the New Year in the Vikram Samvat Calendar, which is the official Hindu calendar.
Legend associated with the festival
According to Hindu mythology, the people of Gokul used to worship Lord Indra, who is also known as the God of Rain. However, Lord Krishna told the people to instead worship the Annakut Hill or Govardhan Parbat, who he felt was the more powerful God. Govardhan Parbat is often worshipped by devotees who seek nurturance and protection from drastic conditions in life. The Parbat is also revered for providing his devotees with food and shelter when required.
Following Lord Krishna’s advice, the people of Gokul started worshipping the Govardhan Hill, instead of Lord Indra. Upon seeing this, Lord Indra became exceedingly angry and rained down heavily in Gokul. Lord Krishna intervened to save the people by lifting the Govardhan Hill with his little finger and covering the people of Gokul under it.
Customs and Rituals of the Festival
Since the festival of Annakut falls very close to the festival of Diwali, the rituals of both festivals are also closely linked. Similar to the festival of Diwali, during Annakut, the first three days are days of prayer, which are done to sanctify wealth and invite greater prosperity into the family. Devotees pray to Lord Krishna and offer their gratitude to God.
Often confused as being the same, Govardhan Pooja and Annakut are actually separate. Govardhan Pooja is a principal ritual performed during Annakut; that is; the Govardhan Pooja is actually only one segment of the day-long Annakut festival.
In Hindu families, elders of the family consider Annakut to be an auspicious time to teach children religious and cultural values, and to ask for forgiveness from God while expressing devotion towards Him wholeheartedly.
As part of the celebrations, people prepare a grand feast, which consists of 56 varieties of food items (referred to as chappan bhog by the locals). This is first offered to Lord Krishna.
We at Veenus Astro wish you a very Happy Govardhan Puja.