The day to commemorate the birth of Lord Krishna, the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu is almost here. And many homes will have already begun intense preparations to celebrate this Hindu festival.
What is Janmashtami?
Krishna Janmashtami , a Hindu festival, celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna is believed to be the eighth avatar of Hindu deity Lord Vishnu and is the most worshipped God of the country. Krishna Janmashtami is also known as SriKrishna Jayanthi, Ashtami Rohini, Krishna ashtami, Gokulashtami.
Lord Krishna was born at midnight on Rohini nakshatra (star) to King Vasudeva and Devaki on the eighth day of dark fortnight in the month of Sravana. And so each year the festival is celebrated on the eighth day(Ashtami) of Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) in the Hindu month of Sharavan that falls during the month of Bhadrapada as per Hindu calendar i.e during August-September.
What is the story behind the birth of Lord Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu?
Lord Krishna is believed to have been born about 5000 years ago in Mathura. As per legend, Lord Krishna was born on a dark and stormy night to end the atorocities of Kansa, his maternal uncle. And the story behind the birth of Lord Krishna goes like this â€“ Mother Earth being disheartened by the sins committed appealed to Brahma for help. Brahma on listening to her appealed to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu said he would take birth on earth in the human form and this avatar would destroy the sins being committed on Earth.
To read more on the legend, click here.
How is Janmashtami celebrated?
The festival is celebrated in numerous ways by Hindus all over the world. It is generally celebrated for two days and the customs vary between regions. The purpose though of all aspects of this festival customs is to celebrate the birth of the Lord to annihilate sins and to highlight that a person must live and rejoice life each day without sacrificing one`s principles.
To mark the birth of Lord Krishna, the idol of infant Krishna is bathed and cradled at midnight. Family members gather around the idol and sing devotional songs, shlokas, mantras and conch shell is blown. Another important ritual on the day of Janmashtami is fasting by devotees. Devotees fast the entire day and break their fast only at midnight when the celebrations to mark the Lord`s birth commence.
Some households draw footprints of a child, with a paste of rice flour and water, starting from the entrance to their homes all the way to the prayer room signifying that Lord Krishna has entered their homes and has bestowed His blessings on all.
It is well known that Lord Krishna was fond of sweets and dairy products. Hence most devotees prepare umpteem varieties of sweets to be offered to Lord Krishna. Poojas are performed, delicacies made offered to Lord Krishna first and only then distributed among the family.