Govardhan Festival comes on the next day of main Diwali and is also known as the “Annakut”. On the day of this festival, food and delicacies are offered to the lord Krishna. Although Diwali begins with Dhanteras, in this way Annakut comes on the fourth day of Diwali (Dhanteras, Choti Diwali, Badi Diwali, Govardhan Pooja). Therefore, it is also known as the first day of the new year in the Vikram Samvat Calendar which is the main Hindu calendar.
The Origin of Govardhan Festival
Lord Kirshna childhood was spent in the village Braj. The villagers, Brajvasi living close to Govardhan mountain used to celebrate the autumn season by worshipping the Indra who is the known as the god of rain and storm. Every year they used to celebrate this autumn festival by praying the god. But Krishna did not approve this and rather suggested them to worship the mountain Govardhan which protects them like any god during the time of need. Krishna insisted to worship the avatar of god which is near to them instead of any distant god like Indra.
On the urge of Krishna only the villagers initiated a festival to offer food and delicacies to the Govardhan mountain and stopped worshipping Indra. Since Krishna was the incarnation of lord Vishnu himself, so he assumed the form of a mountain himself and also accepted the offerings made by the villagers.
When Indra saw that people are not praying him and Krishna had taken his place, he got angry. He caused heavy storm and non-stop rain downpour upon the villager for many days. The villagers got scared and there was a sign of complete wash-away of the village. They started blaming themselves not to pray the god of rain, Indra.
To this, Krishna took the entire Govardhan mount on his little finger and gave shelter to the entire village under it to prevent them from the storm.
How to Celebrate Govardhan Festival?
This festival is celebrated by offering “Annakut” to the deities in temples. People cook a large variety of vegetarian food and sweets, and offer them to the god. Many places bhandaras are organised and food is distributed to the people. A mount made of cow-dung cake is made as a symbol of Govardhan mount and placed in the center and is worshipped.
This day is also celebrated as Vishkarma Pooja and people give a break to their tools and machinery and enjoy the day on the day of Annakut.