Gopashtami falls on the eighth day after Diwali Amavasya. On this day, cows are worshipped. Cows should be bathed and decorated with good clothes, henna and kum kum. After this, we have to walk with the cows for some distance. They have also to be fed. They can be fed any green grass.
Their blessings are taken for our wealth, happiness and prosperity. The family is also blessed, due to this. This pooja should be performed in the morning when the cows go to graze as well as during dusk or Godhooli time when they return home. While they return home, the mud below their feet should be brought home to worship. On this day, it is also auspicious to perform the pooja of cowherds. These poojas are performed where there are cowsheds.
Believers, who do not stay near cowsheds, can perform this pooja to cow’s photo or idols. We get idols of Krishna in the market. With that, a few other dolls can be placed representing Balarama and the Gopas. Those, who do not have dolls and do not have such facilities, betel nuts can represent them. In our home, we bought Western style plastic dolls and decorated them as Krishna, Balarama and the Gopas to perform the pooja. We have a small silver cow, near which we have placed the mud from below real cows. I am sharing the pictures here.
There is a story about how Gopashtami began to be celebrated. Lord Krishna loved cows. Since He protects cows, He got the name Govind. Lord Krishna had lifted Mount Govardhan (Govardhangiri) for the time between Pratipada and Saptami for the protection of His people and cattle from the anger of Lord Indra. From that time this event is being celebrated as Gopashtami.
On this day, since Lakshmi Navaratri is going on, we also worship Goddess Lakshmi in Her form of Goddess Durga. This ashtami is thus special. We can have Kanya Bhoj and Suhasini Bhoj also on this day.