What is Krishna Janmashtami?
- Krishna Janmashtami, also called Gokulashtami, is a Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna.
- It is celebrated on the eighth (ashtami) day of the dark fortnight of the month of Bhadrapada (August–September)
- Lord Krishna is the eighth incarnate of Lord Vishnu
Krishna Janmashtami, also known as Janmashtami or Gokulashtami, is an annual Hindu festival that commemorates the birth of Krishna, the eighth manifestation of Vishnu. The name Krishna Janmashtami means "Occasion of the birth of Krishna." It is celebrated in Bhadrapada Masa on the eighth tithi (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight), according to the Hindu lunisolar calendar. The Gregorian calendar's months of August or September coincide with this.
It is a significant holiday, especially in the Hindu Vaishnavism tradition. The ritual includes fasting (upavasa), a night vigil (Ratri Jagaran), a feast (Mahotsav) the next day, as well as dance-drama recreations of Krishna's life as described in the Bhagavata Purana (such as Rasa Lila or Krishna Lila).
Along with significant Vaishnava and non-sectarian populations found in Manipur, Assam, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and all other states of India, it is celebrated primarily in Mathura and Vrindavan.
Nandotsava, a celebration commemorating the day when Nanda gave presents to the neighbourhood in honour of the birth, occurs after Krishna Janmashtami.
Significance of Krishna Janmashtami
The day is particularly celebrated in Mathura and Vrindavan (Brindaban), which are the locations of Lord Krishna's childhood life. Devotees observe a vigil and fast till the customary hour of his birth the day before. The idol of Krishna is then given a wash in milk and water, clothed in fresh clothing and worshipped. Temples and domestic shrines are embellished with flowers and sweetmeats are offered to the deity before being given to the household as prasada (the god's leftovers, which convey his favour). Krishna's followers recreate the scene of his birth in Mathura, the Yamuna River, where he was carried to safety, and Gokul (early Vraja), where he spent his boyhood, using miniature versions of the deity, the other participants, and the animals and birds of the forest. In the streets, pots of milk are strung from high poles, and men build human pyramids to reach and shatter the pots—this is a variation on Krishna's boyhood game with the cowherd boys, in which they stole the curds that their mothers had placed out of reach. Group singing and dancing are also performed throughout the festival.