It is Janmashtami, and Janmashtami without Dahi-handi ritual is like a fish without water. Dahi-Handi ceremony is an event where different communities hold programmes and competitions on the day of Janmashtami. Dahi-Handi is also among those competitions where in different groups are supposed to break the Dahi-Handi tied at a particular height. The groups form man-pyramid which aims at reaching the Dahi-Handi and breaking it. The person at the topmost in the pyramid is called Govinda.
Dahi-Handi is celebrated because Dahi (curd or makhan) was Krishna's favourite edible and he used to steal the curd from other people's house. For this, he used to get punished from his mother Yashoda. In order to relive those moments, this ceremony of breaking Dahi-Handi is celebrated.
Trust us on this, the entire event looks thrilling and the audience is enthralled by the performance of the people. It is an exciting competition where people just go insane and aim at breaking the 'Dahi-Handi' anyhow. However, as an audience, the entire scene of the Dahi-Handi ritual seems to be exciting and enjoying, but for the players, it's a very risky affair. It is dangerous to the extent of taking the life of the player.
Maharashtra is the state where you will find the ritual being celebrated the most. People are so full of enthusiasm, energy and religious sentiments that they forget they are putting their life at stake in order to break Dahi-Handi and win the competition. As per the records, there have been thousands of injuries due to this 'Dahi-Handi ceremony. Many a times the person at the top of the man-pyramid has fallen, sustaining critical injuries and sometimes, succumbing to them. When some of the people were asked about it, they said that it is a risky affair and that only experts should attempt to do it.
The organisers and sponsors of such Dahi-Handi events claim that they ensure there are proper safety measures and first-aid is available but most of the times, it really does not stand to the level needed, leading to players being left unattended. Also, if you look at it cost-wise, even minor injuries are borne at an expense of Rs 1 lakh and going up to Rs 40-50 lakh, depending on the level of injury.
All we would say is that it's not Holi but still: play safe, stay safe. It is a festival of celebration and make it remain so and don't turn it into a sad and mournful experience. Wish you all a Happy Janmashtami. Enjoy Dahi-Handi ritual but stay safe at the same time.