Edinburgh’s festival scene is about to go all spiritual with two upcoming Hare Krishna festivals in the city.
Well known all over the world for their shaven heads, bright saffron robes, for giving out free food and their famous mantra, the events will see hundreds attend.
ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) and local members of the Hare Krishna movement have teamed up to invite the public to the festivities.
“Probably best known from the Glastonbury Music Festival or for singing in the streets of central London, as the Hare Krishna Festival team we tend to appear all over the place. Whether local carnivals, theatres or town halls we like to be with the people,” said Giridhari Das, a Hare Krishna monk who heads up the UK festival team.
The Hare Krishna Movement follows ancient teachings of devotional yoga with roots in the Vedic culture of India, dating back over 5,000 years. It became popular in the 1960’s when its message was brought to western countries by A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada – an Indian guru, aged 70, who left Vrindavan, India, and set sail for the United States in 1965 with just a few dollars in his pocket.
Within a year of his arrival he set up ISKCON, and today the movement has more than 700 temples and centres worldwide, including 60 farm communities, 50 schools and 90 restaurants.
The Edinburgh festivals, and other festivals across the UK this year, are part of the50 th anniversary celebrations of the Hare Krishna movement.
The first event in the city will be held on Saturday 23 rd July. The ‘Rathayatra’ – a 5,000 year-old street festival procession from India – starts at 2pm in the Meadows. Hundreds are then expected to walk along the High Street and Royal Mile to Holyrood Park for a free vegan feast at 4pm.
This colourful chariot procession is traditionally celebrated annually in Jagannath Puri in Orissa, India, where Lord Jagannath, along with His sister Subhadra and elder brother Baladeva, are paraded through the streets of the city.
Aditya Devi Dasi, a Hare Krishna devotee, is the event’s main organiser. She said: “For many of us, Lord Jagannath is an incarnation of Lord Krishna. This event commemorates the story of Him being paraded through the streets of Puri, east India. The huge processions accompanying the chariots play music, instruments, and devotional songs, including the infamous Hare Krishna mantra. Here in Edinburgh we’ll be parading through the city with our chariot. Anyone is welcome to come along and take part in this auspicious occasion.”
Edinburgh’s second Hare Krishna event, an action-packed Evening Festival, will then be held on Thursday 28 th July at 7pm in the Augustine United Church on George VI Bridge.
Nathan Hartley, who looks after PR & Communications at ISKCON Festivals, added “Our philosophy is very rich and attractive to many people. In a world that’s becoming increasingly competitive, and has people believing they’ll only be happy through material gain, we’re showing a deeply positive alternative.
The Krishna Consciousness message is for everyone. A universal, non-sectarian message of love, simple living, service and above all –connecting the self with the original spiritual source, Krishna.”
The Hare Krishna Evening Festival is completely free, and will include music, dance,and free vegetarian food. It’s open to the public and all are welcome.
For more details visit http://www.harekrishnafestivals.com, follow @HKFestivalsUK on
Twitter, or go to ‘Hare Krishna Festivals UK’ on Facebook.
Notes to Editors
ISKCON Edinburgh – Rima – 07434030208 (for our activities and events in Edinburgh)
ISKCON Festivals: Nathan Hartley – 07737 192156