Hindus around the world are celebrating Janmashtami, a holiday marking the birth of Krishna, a beloved and multifaceted god believed to be the supreme deity of the Universe.
But none celebrated the festive day quite as well as children did throughout India, dressed in elaborate costumes of Krishna and his consort, the goddess Radha.
Krishna is a prominent figure in the Bhagavad Gita, a 700-verse scripture set on a battlefield that contains some of the most important teachings of Hinduism. The god is often depicted in the form of a dark-skinned young boy playing a flute, wearing a peacock feather crown and yellow garments.
To his devotees, Krishna is not only the supreme lord, but also a dear friend, beloved child, and wise teacher.
According to Hindu teachings, Krishna was born at midnight on the ashtami or the 8th day of the Hindu lunar month of Shravan in a prison to Vasudev and Devaki in the town of Mathura. Moments after his birth he escaped to the village of Gokul, where he was raised by foster parents Nanda and Yasoda.
Stories of Krishna’s youth paint a picture of a mischievous and endearing flute-playing cowherd who loved to play pranks on everyone and flirt with the gopis, or cowgirls.
Celebrations on Janmashtami include re-enactments of popular tales from Krishna’s childhood. Many devotees fast on this day and stay up all night worshiping, listening to stories about Krishna’s childhood and singing devotional songs.
Many Hindus believe that one night when Krishna played the flute, all the gopis of the village were so entranced that they left their houses and families to come and dance with him in the forest for the entire night.
Throughout the schools, homes and streets of India on Janmashtami, you’ll see young boys and girls dressed up as Krishna and Radha, and the effect is positively enchanting.
Scroll down to see photos of children dressed up for the festive holiday:
Damon Scheleur contributed to this article.