leader, hero, protector, philosopher, teacher and friend.
The celebrations include fasting for the whole day and night, bhajans (devitional songs), pujas (expressions of worship, honour and devition) and many other rituals.
The devotees of Lord Krishna also spend the night listening to stories about Lord Krishna. They recite hymns from the Gita (a holy Hindu scripture) and sing devotional songs. In Krishna's birthplace, Mathura, people perform Raslilas or religious plays that depict incidents from Krishna's life.
In Northern India, at midnight, the statue of infant Krishna is bathed and placed in a cradle which is rocked while bells are ringing.
In the south west of India, people enact the god's childhood attempts to steal butter and curd from earthen pots beyond his reach. A pot is suspended high above the ground and groups of young people form human pyramids to try and reach the pot and break it.