Janmashtmi Quick Facts
|7 September 2023
|Festival Observed by
History of Janmashtmi
Janmashtami is a major festival of Hinduism which is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Krishna. This festival is celebrated every year on Ashtami Tithi of Bhadrapada month, which falls in Krishna Paksha. On this day devotees worship Lord Krishna, fast, bhajan, katha etc. and congratulate him.
The history of Janmashtami is found in various forms according to Puranas and Shrutis. The most prominent legend is that Krishna was born in Gokul. Lord Krishna's parents were Vasudeva and Devaki, who were imprisoned by a king named Kansa. Vasudev had incarnated Vishnu idol in the city of Dwarka for the birth of his son. The day of Janmashtami is celebrated with pomp in Mathura and Vrindavan, the birthplace of Lord Krishna. Devotees worship Lord Krishna in the night and listen to the story of his birth.
Story of Janmashtmi
Kansa Vadh: This story is about the birth of Lord Krishna. In Dwapara Yuga, a king named Kansa was the ruler of Mathura and he was told by a soothsayer that his life would be taken away by the one who was born with him. Kansa imprisoned his sister Devaki and her husband Vasudev. At the time of his birth, Lord Krishna assumed the avatar of Vishnu Murti and killed Kansa.
The story of Yashoda Mata: The story of Yashoda Mata depicts the childhood days of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna, in a dramatic play with his mother Yashoda, showed her the pastime of stealing the moon. In this story Yashoda Mata has revealed the unique devotion of Lord Krishna.
The Story of Gopis: The Tale of the Gopis depicts the gopi spirit and love. Lord Krishna danced with the gopis in Vrindavan and played the game of stealing butter with them in Raas Leela. The story depicts the importance of love, devotion, and intimacy with God.
Significance of Janmashtmi
The festival known as Janmashtami marks the birthday of Lord Krishna and is celebrated with great pomp and show all over the country. The importance of this day can be seen from many aspects:
Symbols of Ideal Personality: Janmashtami commemorates the incarnation of Lord Krishna and the glory of his life. Lord Krishna is an ideal personality whose life stories and messages teach us the values of devotion, love, religion and true living. Janmashtami provides an opportunity to keep alive the memory of this great ideal.
An occasion for devotion and worship: Janmashtami is a great occasion for devotion and worship of Lord Krishna. Devotees offer prayers at his feet on this day with flowers, fruits, betel nuts, incense, lamps etc. and chant and kirtan his name. This festival provides an opportunity to rekindle the spirit of devotion, love and adoration.
Remembrance of Vrindavan and Nandgaon: Janmashtami is a means of remembering Vrindavan and his Nandgaon, the birthplace of Lord Krishna. Devotees throng the birthplaces of the Lord on this day and enjoy traditional customs, bhajan-kirtan and music there.
Occasion for reunion: Janmashtami is a festival in which family, friends and all members of the community come together. On this day people visit each other's houses, share offerings and share in each other's happiness. This festival is a means of strengthening social unity and mutual bonds of the family.
How to celebrate Janmashtmi
Hindus celebrate Janmashtami by fasting, bhajan-singing, satsang-kirtan, making special feast-offerings and distributing them as prasad-bhandara, night vigil and visiting Krishna temples. Lessons from 'Bhagavata Purana' and 'Bhagavad Gita' are organized in major temples. Many communities organize dance-drama programs called Raas Leela or Krishna Leela. The tradition of Raas Leela is particularly popular in the Mathura region, in the northeastern states of India such as Manipur and Assam, and in parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat. Krishna Leela is performed by various troupes and troupes of artists, encouraged by their local communities, and these drama-dances begin a few days before each Janmashtami.
Tradition and customs of Janmashtmi
Krishna Janmashtami holds significant significance for Hindus around the world, and is celebrated in diverse forms depending on their regional and cultural customs. Hindus celebrate Janmashtami by fasting, singing, praying together, preparing and sharing special meals, night vigils, and visiting Krishna or Vishnu temples. The places of Mathura and Vrindavan are visited by the pilgrims. Some temples organize readings of the Bhagavad Gita in the days preceding Janmashtami. Many North Indian communities organize dance-drama programs called Raas Leela or Krishna Leela. The tradition of Raas Leela is particularly popular in the Mathura region, in the northeastern states of India such as Manipur and Assam, and in parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat.
It is performed by several teams of amateur artists, encouraged by their local communities, and these drama-dance dramas begin a few days before each Janmashtami. People decorate their homes with flowers and lights.  On this day, people chant "Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna-Krishna Hare Hare". The Janmashtami festival is followed by Dahi Handi, which is celebrated the next day. After Krishna's midnight birth, forms of the infant Krishna are bathed and dressed, then placed in a cradle. After this the devotees break their fast by distributing food and sweets. Women make small footprints outside their doors and kitchens as they walk towards their homes, symbolizing Krishna's visit to their homes.
More info about Janmashtmi
The nature of Janmashtami has changed over time and is celebrated as a modern and upbeat festival. Janmashtami was earlier celebrated only in small families and temples. But now it is celebrated on a larger community level, where people get together and enjoy the festivities. Large Janmashtami pandals, Rasleela and many religious and cultural programs are organized. Nowadays, there is a lot of importance in organizing dance, music and art on Janmashtami. People organize Rasleela, Kathanak, and other theater performances to depict the pastimes of Lord Krishna.Apart from this, people sing the glories of Lord Krishna through bhajans, kirtans and music. Special pandals are made for Janmashtami where an idol of Lord Krishna is installed. These pandals are specially decorated and adorned with incense, flowers, traditional aarti, sound and light. People visit these pandals and worship Lord Krishna. Butter, peda, curd, fruits and sweets are traditionally offered as Naivedya on Janmashtami. This prasad is distributed to the devotees of Lord Krishna and is considered a symbol of Lord Krishna's grace.
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