About Janmashtami Festival
Janmashtami is a grand festival celebrated all over India to commemorate the birth of Lord Krishna, who is believed to be the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Sri Krishna is considered as the one of the most powerful human incarnations of the Lord Vishnu. To celebrate the day, Lord Krishna temples are decorated, processions, bhajan, kirtan and satsang meetings are organised at various places to remember him and celebrate his birth. Night long prayers are offered and religious mantras are sung in the temples. The occasion is observed especially in Mathura and Vrindavan, the scenes of Krishna’s childhood and early youth. On this day, devotees pray and keep a fast to obtain the grace of Lord Krishna. It is one of the biggest religious festivals in India.
When it is celebrated
Janmashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna is celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm in India in the month of July or August. According to the Hindu calendar this religious festival is celebrated on the Ashtami of Krishna Paksh or the 8th day of the dark fortnight in the month of Bhadon.
The tale of Mahabharata has a lot to do with the life of Lord Krishna. During the Dharma Yuddha or righteous war between two Pandavas and Kauravas, Lord Krishna played the charioteer of Arjuna. He was counselling Arjuna on various segments of life like Dharma, Karma , Theistic Devotion, Yogic ideals, salvation, knowledge, etc. because Arjuna was in emotional turmoil in killing his brothers and cousins. Lord Krishna stated that whenever there will be prominence of evil deeds in this universe, he will reincarnate in various looks and attire to show the path of right and peace to people. The sole reason of celebrating this festival is bringing people together so that principles of unity strengthens.
The main significance of this festival lies in encouraging the goodwill and discouraging the bad will. Krishna Janmashtami is also celebrated for the togetherness. This holy festival brings all the people together. Hence Krishnashtami symbolises faith and unity.
Krishna Janmashtami is the day, when prayers and bhajans are sung by the people. Holy mantras are chanted out by the people on this very day. People offer their prayers to Sri Krishna. People prepare the sweets at home. Plays are organized in the streets or in the parks and small children like to dress like Sri Krishna.
On this day devotees keep a vigil and fast until midnight. Then the image of Krishna is bathed in water and milk, dressed in new clothes, and worshipped. Temples and household shrines are decorated with leaves and flowers; sweetmeats are first offered to the god and then distributed as prasada to all the members of the household.
Dahi Handi is another important aspect of this festival that is observed in the second day of Janmashtami. As a kid Lord Krishna was named “Makhanchor”. He used to steal butter from every household of Gokul. Dahi Handi is an event where the same butter stealing activity of Lord Krishna is narrated. hHandi is filled with butter, clarified butter or ghee, dry fruits, and milk is suspended at a considerable height with help of ropes. All the local young guys gather to make a human pyramid and climb on each other to reach the handi and break it. This is an activity that teaches the team work principles.
The actual celebration of Janmashtami takes place during the midnight as Sri Krishna is believed to be borned on a dark, stormy and windy night to end the rule and violence of his uncle, Kansa. Janmashtami is a public holiday in Assam, Bihar, Chandigarah, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand.
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