The birth anniversary of Lord Krishna is celebrated as Krishna Jayanthi. Krishna was born on the Rohini star on Ashtami day. The celebrations in the households consist mainly of ritual fasting during the day, spending the whole night in the worship of Krishna, chanting hymns in praise of Krishna and reciting prayers from the Bhagavatham. After the puja ceremony in which the idol of Krishna is venerated with flowers and lamps, sweets and butter are offered up as Prasad and then eaten by the whole family.
In the village of Adi Annamalai, Krishna Jayanthi is celebrated by the village people under the name of “Uri Yadi Vizha” literally meaning ‘Beating the pot festival’. A high pole is erected in the centre of the village square. On the high end of the pole hangs the booty, many earthenware pots with money and sweets stashed inside. The sides of the pole are rubbed down with butter making it difficult to climb. The celebration takes the form of a contest. All the able bodied young men of the village, especially those of the Yadava community, vie with each other to climb up the slippery pole and hit the pots with a stick and break them, thus winning the prize of money and sweets that is contained inside.
It is quite an entertaining spectacle. While each man tries with great hardship to climb up the butter smeared pole and hit the pots, his task is made even harder by the crowd who throw buckets of water at him during his arduous ascent. Many of them get deterred and slip down the pole without being able to hit the pots with the stick. Then another tries and yet another and it goes on. Finally towards nightfall, a tough, undaunted lad reaches the top in spite of the slippery slide and the water drenching him and manages to hit one of the pots with a resounding thwack. The pot breaks and sweets come cascading down on the crowd. Children laugh and rush gleefully to grab the sweets. Loud cries of Govinda! Govinda! rent the air. The drummers play with frenzied energy. Then more men feel encouraged by this hit and are able to climb up and break other pots. In the end all the pots are broken. Three of four men have been declared winners and the prize money is equally distributed between them. The crowd disperses slowly. Later on, an abhishekam is done to a small idol of Krishna in the same place and the prasad is shared by all.