Janmashtami also known as Krishnashtami, Saatam Aatham, Gokulashtami, Ashtami Rohini or Srikrishna Jayanti, is a Hindu festival celebrating the birth of Krishna, an avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu. It is observed on the eighth day (Ashtami Tithi) of the dark half (Krishna Paksha) of the month of Bhadra (mid-August to mid-September) according to the Hindu calendar. Rasa lila, dramatic enactments of the life of Krishna, are a special feature in regions of Mathura and Vrindavan, and regions following Vaishnavism in Manipur.
Janmashtami 2018 in India : Traditionally, Janmashtami is a Hindu festival and declared as a Central Government Holiday or Gazetted Holiday in India. Next time this festival will be celebrated on 2nd September , 2018 (Sunday). This festival less or more celebrates in all the states and Union Territories of India. Celebration Day: Monday, 02/09/2018. Last time the festival Janmashtami was celebrated on 14th August, 2017 (Monday) and next year it will be celebrated on 24th August, 2019 (Saturday).
According to Hinduism, Krishna is the eight incarnation (avatar) of lord Vishnu. He was born as the 8th child of Devaki and Basudeba. Demon king Kansa was elder brother of Devaki. God Narada had predicted that Kansa would be killed by his nephew, so Kansa killed Devaki's first six children. The 7th, Balarama escaped and the 8th, Krishna, was secretly exchanged for a cowherd's daughter.
The demon kings Kansa send many demons to kill Krishna, but all were defeated. Among them were the Vatasura disguised as a calf, the enormous crane Bakasura, Aghasura the demon snake and the monstrous horse Keshisura. Lord Krishna also mastered the five-headed demon snake Kaliya, to stop it from poisoning the holy river Yamuna and send it back to the ocean. He jumped on the snake from a big Kadamba tree and then defeated him by dancing on his heads.
Krishna was brought up in a cowherd's family and he loved to play the flute to entertain the other. As a child, Krishna had great love for his foster-mother Yashoda. Krishna also became very famous for teasing the milkmaids of Vrindavan as well as Yashoda. He and his friends hide the clothes of bathing girls or even break the water pots the milkmaids were carrying on their heads.
The general pooja (Worships) process begins early in the morning with devotees giving a bath to Bal Gopal's idol with Gangajal (water of a holy river Ganga), ghee, water, honey and curd. The idol is then adorned with new clothes (preferably in yellow color), stone or other precious jewelers and later devotees offer Chhappan Bhog (56 dishes, namely fruits, Kheer, Pedha, milk, and milk products) to Bal Gopal.
Thereafter, special Krishna Pooja(Worships) is performed. Devotees sing Krishna Arti (song), some people read out 108 names of lord Krishna. After the entire Pooja is over, devotees take their break. Some devotees choose to perform Pooja at midnight and break fast; others perform Pooja in the evening and have food.
Janmashtami is celebrated all over India with great respect. Lord Krishna is worshipped on this day. Almost all the temples of the country witness thousands of devotees lined up to get a glimpse of the Lord Narayana on this day and offer prayers.
Janmashtami celebration in India is enjoyed for two-three days in most parts of the country. The first two days are celebrated as the birth of the Lord Krishna, whereas on the third day, the most popular ceremony takes place known as breaking of curd pot or Dahi Handi.
The most famous places where Janmashtami is a festival of exuberance, colors, and religious observances are Brindavan, Gokul, Mathura and Dwarka. There are certain celebrations that are distinct feature of a particular state or region in India which are as follows:
Celebration in Maharashtra
An extremely euphoric atmosphere prevails in different cities of Maharashtra during the festival. The city of Mumbai experiences lot of enthusiasm among young men and boys who carry out the Dahi Handi ritual every year at various places. An earthen pot hung 20-30 feet from the ground with the help of a rope is broken by a human pyramid. The young boys don't give up till the time the pot is broken, followed by prize distribution ceremony. It is a popular belief among devotees that the broken pieces of the pot, if kept in the house will help remove negative powers and rats.
Celebrations in Uttar Pradesh
Varanasi is a witness to the famous 'Nag-Nathaiya Leela' every year to commemorate the birth of Lord Krishna. It takes place at Tulsi Ghat in Varanasi and is a 20 day long event. The re-enactment of the famous killing of Nag is done. A young boy acting Lord Krishna jumps in the river and emerges on top of the head of Kaliya Nag, the dreaded serpent during the climax. This episode is watched by Lakhs of devotees on the Ghats of Holy River Ganga.
Celebration in South India
Various kinds of sweets are made to offer Gokulnandan on this day. Murukku and Seeddai are prepared in Tamil Nadu. Eatables made of milk and curd is prepared to make offerings to Lord Krishna. Joyful chanting of Lord's name takes place in quite a few temples of the state. The numbers of temples dedicated to Sri Krishna are few. So people have taken to worship him through paintings on a frame not idols.
The Rajagopalaswami Temple in Mannargudi in the Tiruvarur district, Bala Krishna temple at Udupi, Pandavadhoothar temple in Kanchivaram and Krishna temple at Guruvayurare dedicated to the memory of Vishnu's incarnation as Sri Krishna. Legend has it that it in Guruvayure that the idol of Sri Krishna was installed after the city of Dwarka submerged in the sea.
Celebration in Bengal
Janamashtami is famously known as Gupt Vrindavan in Bengal. It means hidden Vrindavan, this is so because of the fact that Lord Krishna spent time in Vrindavan with his consort, Radha. It is great fun planning and executing the decoration. The display is left for few days for friends and relatives to enjoy. The grandparents narrate to the children the interesting stories of Krishna, his pranks of childhood, romance with Radha in his young days, and finally, his days of kingship offering us the eternal truth of the great Bhagavad Gita. There is nothing in the world that can be compared with the profound philosophy of Gita.
Janmaashtami, popularly known in Manipur as Krishna Janma, is a significant festival celebrated at two temples in Imphal, the capital city of Manipur. The first festival is at the Govindaji temple and the second is at the International Society for Krishna Consciousness temple. Devotees of Lord Krishna gather mostly at the Iskon Temple.