Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra

These Hare Krsna summer festivals and parades
draw thousands for a taste of spiritual bliss.

Every one of us is inherently joyful. We want to sing and dance, to laugh and love, because we are not material beings but spiritual souls. As souls, being minuscule parts of God, we are meant to be joyful, just as God is joyful. And to the extent that we are God conscious, we can feel that each day is a transcendent, joyful celebration whether a solitary internal one or a splendid public one.

This summer and every summer devotees bring their celebrations to the streets and parks. Why? For the pleasure of Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And for the pleasure of all of us, His energies.

Devotees have been holding these summer festivals for many years, and thousands of people look forward to them as the highlight of their summer. The most widely known celebration is Ratha-yatra, or the Festival of the Chariots, a two-thousand-year-old tradition commemorating the time when Lord Krsna left His opulent kingdom to return to His most intimate devotees in His rural childhood village. During Ratha-yatra, Krsna in His form as Jagannatha ("Lord of the universe") is pulled through the streets in a towering chariot while His devotees sing, dance, and play musical instruments. And at the end of the procession dramas, puppet shows, exhibits, films, and feasting.

Other summer celebrations include the Festival of India, a traveling exhibition on the culture and history of spiritual India; Janmastami, the appearance day of Lord Krsna; and Vyasa-puja, the appearance day of the founder-acarya of the Hare Krsna movement, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

We invite you, gentle reader, to join in these celebrations of life celebrations that heighten our spiritual awareness, that remind us we are of another world. By immersing ourselves in these celebrations of real life, we can transcend this world and enter the other one the spiritual world where every step is a dance, every word a song, and laughter and love never cease.