Hindu float festival brings procession of color and musical joy to Birmingham
The 19th annual float festival, known as ‘Birmingham Ratha Yatra’, brought an array of colors and sunshine to the city over the weekend, with music, dancing, vegetarian food and positive vibrations.
The Hindu festival beamed with smiles and joy as loyal revelers took part in a procession around Victoria Square in the city center, at an event hosted by the Birmingham branch of Hare Krishnas.
Rathayatra is the largest street festival of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. It features a huge hand-drawn wooden chariot in a grand procession. Along the route there are melodious chants, chants and dances on rhythmic drums and cymbals. The procession ends with a live performance, festival and a delicious feast of vegetarian prasadam.
The 19th anniversary of the Birmingham Ratha Yatra Festival 2019 was a spectacular event with a procession and festival through the city center, incorporating all the exoticism, vitality and color of India. This year the procession was fortunate to be joined by the Lord and Lady Mayoress of Birmingham.
Departing from Victoria Square, the float and its faithful, dancers and musicians descended New Street before turning around and making the way back to continue the festivities in the square.
The festival parade symbolizes Lord Jaganath (Lord Krishna), his brother Balarama and his sister Subdra returning home after a long period of absence. Coming home is celebrated by Hindus all over the world.
The original Ratha Yatra is considered the oldest street procession in the world. The tribute to Birmingham lasted around 90 minutes before moving on to static celebrations, including a number of stalls selling books, cakes, bags and henna. There was also the opportunity to have free food, known as “Prasadam”.
ISKCON is a movement founded by Srila Prabhupada in 1969 and follows the Gaudiya Vaishavism branch of Hinduism. The movement focuses heavily on mediating a certain mantra-Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
Here are 19 photos from the Ratha Yatra festival in Birmingham:
# 1 Procession from Victoria Square
# 2 Volunteers creating a path for the parade
# 3 Jaganath, Balarama and Subdra
# 4 Children next to a small chariot
# 5 Beginning of the procession
# 6 Inside the tank
# 7 Procession through the streets of Birmingham
# 8 One of the floats of the procession
# 9 celebrate peace and love with color
# 10 The tanks return to Victoria Square
# 11 Crowds gather at Square Victoria
# 12 Hare Krishna
# 13 Crowds stop to take pictures of the Chariots
# 14 A celebrating family
# 15 Carob and Mixed Fruit Cupcakes
# 16 Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councilor Mohammed Azim
# 17 Families get together to watch entertainment
# 18 Enjoy the festival atmosphere
# 19 The Lord and Lady Mayoress of Birmingham
Article by guest contributor Sushill sharma and photographs by Mohan Mayapur, both for I Am Birmingham.
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