Janmashtami: Everything To Know The Festival of Lord Krishna

Janmashtami
Image credits: Firspost

Krishna Janmashtami, sometimes referred to as Janmashtami or Gokulashtami, is a yearly Hindu festival commemorating the birth of Krishna, Vishnu’s eighth incarnation. The Hindu lunisolar calendar is celebrated on the eighth tithi (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) in Bhadrapada Masa. This corresponds to the Gregorian calendar months of August or September.

Janmashtami celebrations include dance-drama reenactments of Krishna’s life according to the Bhagavata Purana (including Rasa Lila as well as Krishna Lila), bhakti singing throughout the midnight while Krishna was born, fasting (upavasa), a night moment of silence (Ratri Jagaran), and a festival (Mahotsav) the following day. It is a significant event, notably in Hinduism’s Vaishnavism tradition. It is primarily celebrated in Mathura and Vrindavan, as well as by important Vaishnava and non-sectarian populations in Manipur, Assamese, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu, among other states in India.

Following Krishna Janmashtami comes the celebration Nandotsav, which commemorates when Nanda Baba donated presents to the community in honor of Krishna’s birth.

Date & Time of Krishna Janmashtami in 2022

Krishna Janmashtami 2022 will occur from Thursday, August 18 to Friday, August 19.

On August 18, 2022, Ashtami Tithi starts at 9:20 p.m. Ashtami Tithi concludes on August 19, 2022, at 10:59 p.m.

Histories and Importance of Janmashtami

Janmashtami
Image credits: Live Uttar Pradesh

Janmashtami is often referred to as Gokulashtami or Krishna Janmashtami. It is observed annually on the eighth day of the Krishna Paksha, or a dark fortnight in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada.

Before we begin, are you aware of why it is celebrated on the eighth day or Ashtami? Krishna is thought to be Devaki’s eighth child, so Krishna Janmashtami is observed on the eighth day.

According to Hindu legend, Mathura was controlled by the wicked monarch Kansa. He married his sister to Vasudeva, the Yadu monarch, to expand his realm. Kansa resolved to lavishly shower the newlyweds with presents to earn Vasudeva’s confidence after the marriage. However, heaven has a different plan for them. When he takes the reins of the nuptial carriage, a voice from heaven declares that his wicked ways will come to a stop with the birth of his sister’s eighth child.

Kansa imprisons his sister and her husband Vasudeva after learning of his prophecy. Kansa desired to murder Devaki, but Vasudeva assured him that he would grant Kansa custody of all his eight children if he spared Devaki’s life.

Kansa agreed, and he murdered the couple’s six children one by one. When Devaki got pregnant for the 7th time, strange things happened. Devaki’s seventh child is moved from her womb to the womb of Rohini, Vasudeva’s first wife, by divine intervention, and so Devaki and Vasudeva seventh child is safely born.

When Devaki became pregnant again, Kansa was eager to murder the couple’s kid, but God had other plans. Krishna was, in reality, Devaki’s eighth child and an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

While Devaki was in labor, Vishnu appeared in her jail cell and informed Vasudeva that his eighth child was an incarnation of himself, Lord Vishnu, who would bring an end to the dominion of Kansa.

That night was stormy and lightning-stricken; Vishnu smashes all the locks and puts the guards to sleep. He also instructed Vishnu on what he needed to accomplish, and then Lord Vishnu vanished.

Vasudeva departed the palace as instructed, carrying a wicker basket bearing his heavenly son. He crossed the Yamuna into the town of Gokul and traded the infant for the newborn daughter of Nanda and his wife Yashoda, the chief of Gokul.

Krishna, therefore, grew up in Gokul and eventually murdered his uncle, Kansa.

On Janmashtami, this tale is commemorated by people fasting, chanting religious songs of love for Krishna, and maintaining a vigil throughout the night. Following Krishna’s midnight birth, sculptures of the infant Krishna are cleaned and dressed before being put in a cradle. Following that, the devotees break their fast by exchanging food and sweets. Women create little footprints outside their front doors and kitchens, going toward their houses as a metaphor for Krishna’s arrival inside their homes.

How Is Janmashtami Celebrated?

Janmashtami
Image credits: Fab Hotels

The real celebration of Krishna Janmashtami occurs around 12 a.m. since it is assumed that Lord Krishna was born on a dark, turbulent, as well as windy night to bring an end to his maternal uncle Kansa’s dominion. It is commemorated across India with devotional music, people fast for the whole day, and various temples have been artistically decked to celebrate Krishna’s life journey. Specifically, the Janmashtami celebrations in Mathura and Vrindavan are very significant since he lived his whole life there. Krishna’s figure is washed in water and milk at midnight and then clothed in fresh garments and worshiped. After offering sweets to God, they are distributed as Prasada.

Additionally, on this day, people hang pots of butter and milk from poles in the streets, and men in pyramid formation reach and shatter the pots. Individuals and groups sing and dance. It is popularly known as Dahi Handi. This foreshadowed Krishna’s youth when he used to play with the cowherd’s sons and steal curds that their moms hung out of reach. As a result, he was also known as ‘Makhanchor,’ or the butter thief.

ISKCON temples across the globe commemorate Krishna Janmashtami as well as the birthday of ISKCON’s founder, Acharya A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, which occurs on the next day according to the Vaishnava calendar.

FAQs About Janmashtami

Why is Janmashtami observed for two days?

It is the day on which people begin their preparations for the birth of Lord Krishan. Lord Krishna was the avatar of Vishnu, who was born in Mathura during a dark fortnight in the month of Bhadrapada.

On Janmashtami, whose deity is worshiped?

Janmashtami is a Hindu festival held on the eighth (ashtami) day of the dark fortnight of the month of Bhadrapada (August–September) to commemorate the birth (janma) of the deity Krishna. Number eight is important in Krishna mythology since he is Devaki’s eighth child.

Why do we observe a day of fasting on Janmashtami?

On Janmashtami, food is sacrificed to allow the devotee’s thoughts to be honored in devotion. If food is consumed on Janmashtami, the devotee’s mind will not engage in devotion due to sleepiness and indigestion. Hunger suppresses appetite.

Which meal is Krishna’s favorite?

Makhan (Butter) is said to be Shri Lord Krishna’s most favorite and particular food item; it is told that he was so enamored of the delicacy that he often stole it from the Gopis.

Conclusion

Now that you know everything about Janmashtami, it’s time to get ready to celebrate this festival with a lot of pomp and love! For more blogs about popular Indian festivals, keep reading Seema!