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The Chaturthi falling during the Krishna Paksha or the dark phase in the month of Bhadrapad is known as Bahula Chaturthi. Mainly observed by the farmer communities of Gujarat, this festival is dedicated to the worship of cows. Farmers offer their gratitude to the cows every year on this day. This year the festival will be observed on August 30, 2018.
Bahula Chaturthi Is Significant For The Farmer Communities
The farmer communities get up early and clean the cowsheds and give a bath to their cows. They offer prayers before the idols of Lord Krishna tending cows, as well as before those of child Krishna. It is believed that observing a fast on this day brings good luck to the devotees. People abstain from consuming milk as well as items made using milk. It is said that the calves of those cows have a sole right over their mother's milk on this day.
Bahula Chaturthi Vrat Katha
There is a story behind the fast being observed on this day and the day being dedicated to the worship of the cows. Once there was a cow named Bahula, who was on her way to feed her calf. The cow was in a hurry as it was the time the calf would be hungry. On the way, the cow met a lion. As the lion saw her, he knew that the lion would be hungry. As the lion saw her, he knew he had found a good meal for the day.
The lion approached the cow, and she pleaded to be left, since she needed to feed the hungry calf. Both of them came to an agreement as per which the cow would return after having fed her calf. The cow thus went off and the lion awaited her return. When the cow returned after having fed her calf, the lion was quite surprised as he did not expect her to return despite having let her go, on that promise.
Since the love of the cow for her baby overpowered the power and the hunger of the lion on this day, a day to worship the cows is observed on this day. It is believed that all the 33 crore gods and goddesses reside in the body of the cow. So, the cow too is worshipped just as we offer prayers to the deities.
Rituals Performed On Bahula Chaturthi
1. On this day, one should not eat items made with wheat flour and milk, and the items that need to be cut, should also not be consumed. Use of a knife should be abstained from. People observe fasts as well on the day of Bahula Chaturthi.
2. Farmers or those who have a domesticated cow, should get up early and wash the cowshed and get the cow too bathed.
3. One should visit a temple of Lord Vishnu or Lord Krishna. If visiting the temples is not possible, one should worship Lord Krishna at home, using a lamp, incense and sandalwood paste.
4. The cows and the calves are worshipped in the evening. One can even visit a Gowshala (a reserve for cows) and offer food as well as prayers to them on this day. Some people offer prayers before the image of the cow as well.