Janmashtami is a religious festival of Hindus. Janamasthami is also famous as Krishnashtami, Saatam Aatham, Gokulashtami, Ashtami Rohini, Srikrishna Jayanti and Sree Jayanti. Janamasthami is celebrated in India as birthday of Lord Krishna. Krishna was the eighth Avatar of Lord Vishnu.
Janamasthami is celebrated in the month of August or September. According to the Hindu Calendar this festival is celebrated on the Ashtami of Krishna Paksh in the month of Shravana or the 8th day of the dark fortnight in the month of bhadon.
Krishna was born about 5000 years ago in Mathura. The main objective of Krishna to take birth on earth was to free the earth from evil. He played an important role in Mahabharata and propagated the theory of bhakti and good karma which are narrated deeply in the Bhagwat Geeta. Krishna gave 125 years of his life to earth but according to some other views he stayed 110 years on earth.
Krishna was born in a prison in the custody of Kansa. Krishna’s father decided to handover Krishna to his friend Nand to save him from the clutch of Kansa. Krishna grew up in Gokul and finally killed his uncle, King Kansa.
The festival consists of several events to pay tribute to the lord.
Dahi Handi- In Maharashtra, Janamasthami is better known as as Dahi Handi. With Dahi Handi people celebrate God’s playful and mischievous side, where teams of young men form human towers to reach a high-hanging pot of curd and break it. Dahi Handi is held to mimic and celebrate Krishna’s fondness for butter as he was called “makhanchor” (butter thief) during his childhood.
Rasa Lila- In Mathura and Vrindavan Janmashtami is celebrated as Rasa Lila. Rasa Lila re-creates the flirtatious aspects of Krishna’s youthful days.
Uriadi- In Tamilnadu there is always a major event on Gokulashtami, known as uriadi.
Jhankis- A huge part of Janamasthami celebrations are the jhankis. The life events of Krishna are shown by the people in jhankis. Kids are dressed like Krishna and Radha and they are worshipped by people.
Chhappan Bhog- Krishna was quite foodie. Therefore to celebrate this side of Krishna feast of 56 items of food is organised that is offered to God and later distributed as Prasad.
Fasting- Hindu celebrate Janamasthami by fasting, worshipping Krishna and staying up until midnight. when Krishna is believed to have been born. Images of Krishna’s infancy are placed in swings and cradles in temples and homes.
Songs and dances- All over India this day is celebrated with devotional songs and dances, pujas, arti, blowing of the Conch and rocking the cradle of baby Sri Krishna.
Swings- Another traditional ritual that is followed at many places in the country is of tying swings on the trees. Krishna love to swing in a jhula. Thus devotees thus make sure they tie a swing on the occasion of Janmashtami for it considered to be auspicious.