Krishna Janmashtami (Krishnashtami, Saatam Aatham, Gokulashtami, Astami Rohini, Srikrishna Jayanti, Sree Jayanthi, Janmashtami) is one of the most important Hindu festivals that celebrates the birth of Krishna, the eighth incarnation of the god Vishnu.
Janmashtami falls on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) in the month of Bhadrapada, which usually falls between August and September on the Gregorian calendar. Janmashtami is widely celebrated across India and by Hindus around the world.
Fasting: Devotees often observe a fast on Janmashtami, which usually involves abstaining from consuming grains and certain types of foods. Some people observe a complete fast, while others may have a restricted diet.
Devotional Singing and Dancing: Bhajans (devotional songs) and kirtans (spiritual chants) praising Lord Krishna are sung throughout the day and night. Devotees also engage in traditional dances like the Raas Leela, which recreates the playful activities of Krishna and his gopis (female companions).
Midnight Celebrations: Lord Krishna is believed to have been born at midnight. Devotees gather in temples and homes to celebrate the exact moment of his birth with prayers, chanting, and other religious activities.
Janmashtami Puja: Elaborate pujas (ritual worship) are performed in temples and homes. The idol of Lord Krishna is bathed, adorned with new clothes and jewelry, and offered various sweets, fruits, and delicacies.
Swings and Cradles: Decorated swings and cradles are a common sight during Janmashtami. Devotees often place images of baby Krishna in swings and cradles to symbolize his birth and childhood.
Matki Fod (Dahi Handi): This is a popular activity, especially in Maharashtra, where participants form human pyramids to break a suspended pot (matki) filled with curd or butter, which is a playful reenactment of Krishna's childhood pranks of stealing butter.
Decorations: Homes, temples, and streets are adorned with colorful decorations, rangolis (intricate floor designs), and images of Lord Krishna and his life events.
Lectures and Discourses: Many temples organize discourses and lectures on the life and teachings of Lord Krishna. Spiritual leaders and scholars often share insights from the Bhagavad Gita and other scriptures associated with Krishna.
Feasting: After the fasting period, a sumptuous feast is prepared with a variety of vegetarian dishes, sweets, and savories. This feast is often shared with family, friends, and community members.
Cultural Programs: In addition to religious observances, cultural programs like dramas, skits, and performances depicting Krishna's life are organized to entertain and educate the community.