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About Janmashtami

Janmashtami is also known as Krishna Janmashtami or Gokulashtami. It is an annual Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna who is the eighth avatar of Vishnu. The Janmashtami festival is celebrated according to the Hindu lunisolar calendar. And, the date of the festival falls on the eighth day of the Krishna Paksha in Shraavana or Bhadrapad month. The month usually depends on whether the calendar chooses the new moon or full moon day as the last day of the month. Furthermore, the date of the festival falls on the month of August or September of the Gregorian calendar.

The festival of Janmashtami is important in the Vaishnavism tradition of Hinduism. The celebrations of Janmashtami include dance-drama enactments of the life of Krishna according to the Bhagavata Purana such as Rasa Lila or Krishna Lila. Celebrations also include devotional singing through the midnight when Krishna was born, fasting, a wakeful night, and a festival on the following day. Furthermore, people also visit the temples of Lord Krishna or Vishnu. This festival is mainly celebrated in Mathura and Vrindavan. It is also celebrated by major Vaishnava and non-sectarian communities found in Manipur, Assam, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and all other states of India.

Significance Of Janmashtami Celebration

Lord Krishna is Devaki and Vasudeva Anakadundubhi's son and his birthday is celebrated by Hindus as Janmashtami. This festival is particularly celebrated by those of the Gaudiya Vaishnavism tradition as he is considered the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Janmashtami is celebrated when Krishna is believed to have been born according to Hindu tradition. According to Puranava, Lord Krishna was born in Mathura at midnight on the eighth day of Bhadrapada month.

He was born in an age of chaos. It was a time when killing was common, freedoms were denied, evil was everywhere, and also there was a threat to his life by his maternal uncle King Kansa. Immediately after the birth of Lord Krishna at Mathura, his father Vasudeva Anakadundubhi takes Krishna across the Yamuna to his foster parents named Nanda and Yashoda in Gokul. This legend is celebrated on Janmashtami by people keeping fast, singing devotional songs of love for Krishna, and keeping a vigil into the night. After Krishna's midnight hour birth, statues of baby Krishna are washed and clothed, then placed in a cradle. Then, all the devotees break their fast by sharing food and sweets. Furthermore, women draw tiny footprints outside their house doors and the kitchen walking towards their house. It is a symbolism for Krishna's journey into their homes.

Celebrations Of Krishna Janmashtami In India

Janmashtami is celebrated in various cities of India. On the Krishna Janmashtami or on the following day, Dahi or Makhan Handi is celebrated in many cities. In this celebration, people break the Dahi Handi (earthen pot of yogurt) which is a part of this festival. The festival gets this popular regional name from the legend of baby Krishna. According to the legend, Lord Krishna in his childhood would seek into people’s homes and steal their milk products such as yogurt and butter. Due to which people would hide their supplies high up so that it stays out of the baby's reach. But, Krishna would try all sorts of creative ideas that include making human pyramids with his friends to break these high hanging pots.

Janmashtami is the largest festival in the Braj region of north India such as Mathura where Krishna was born and Vrindavan where he grew up. Vaishnava communities in these as well as other cities like Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana, Uttarakhand, and Himalayan north celebrate Janmashtami. Krishna temples are decorated and lighted up which attract numerous visitors on the day of Janmashtami. Moreover, Krishna devotees hold bhakti events and keep night vigil on those temples.

In the northern states, Janmashtami is celebrated with the Raslila tradition. In this Raslila, the childhood pranks of Krishna and the love affairs of Radha-Krishna are particularly popular. In Dwarka, Gujarat where Lord Krishna is believed to have established his kingdom, people celebrate the festival with a tradition of Makhan Handi. Furthermore, people also perform folk dances at temples, sing bhajans, visit the Krishna temples such as at the Dwarkadhish Temple or Nathdwara.