Janmashtami is the celebration of the birth of Lord Krishna who, according to Hindu Mythology, is the 8th reincarnation of the mightiest Lord, Lord Vishnu.
Lord Vishnu took birth on Earth in the mortal form of Sri Krishna to kill Kans (the evil king of the Vrishni kingdom) and to guide the Pandavas to win the war of Kurukshetra as inscribed in Bhagavad Gita. It is one of the most popular Hindu festivals. However, it is celebrated with spectacular enthusiasm in Mathura (the place where Krishna was born) and Gokul (where Krishna was raised).
Legends of Janmashtmi
Krishna’s life is divided into many phases and each phase is associated with at least one popular legend. The first phase is Krishna’s birth, Janamashmti. Janam means birth and asth means 8. It is believed that Sri Krishna was born on the 8th day of Shukla Paksha of the Kartika month. He was born to Devaki (the sister of Kans) and her husband, Vasudeva in Mathura. There had been a Godly declaration that a child of Devaki would kill Kans. Hence, Kans had captured his sister in a prison. He killed all her 6 children before Krishna. As soon as Krishna was born, Gods from heaven cast a spell in the palace of Kans. Vasudeva, the father of Krishna, carried little Krishna on top of his head in a basket and crossed the Yamuna river. He reached Gokul and left his newborn at the doorsteps of a childless couple, Yashoda and Nanda who raised Sri Krishna as their own. During his childhood, Lord Krishna was a very naughty yet very beautiful child. That’s where he gets his two popular names, Natkhat Nandlal (naughty son of Nanda) and Manmohana (someone who can steal hearts). While growing up, Sri Krishna had a lover, Radha in Vrindavan. She was his first love and is said to be a reincarnation of Lord Vishnu’s wife, Goddess Lakshmi. Once Krishna grew up, he left Gokul and headed for Mathura to fulfill his life’s prophecy of killing his maternal uncle, Kans.
People purchase small idols of Baal Gopal (baby Krishna) for the celebration of Janmashtami. The little Krishna is bathed in Holy water and dressed in new clothes. The idol is then kept in a cradle that is placed in the mandir (temple) at home. A Diya is lit in front of baby Krishna and the devotees fast during the day and observe the fast until the time of Krishna’s birth according to Hindu panchang. Once the Mahurat of birth arrives, the devotees chant hymns and songs to welcome little Krishna. The cradle, known as Palna, is lightly swung and lullabies are sung to soothe baby Krishna. After the puja, the fast is broken. People visit nearby temples even at night and attend jagratas (nightlong puja where nobody sleeps) to welcome Bal Gopal. A Bhog of Panjeeri (a Hindu sweet that Sri Krishna loves) is distributed in the temple. People also distribute food, fruits, sweets, and clothes to poor people on the day of Janmashtami.
Significance of Janmashtami
Hindus believe that welcoming Baal Gopal at home brings happiness and peace. Devotees also believe that if pleased, Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi bless the worshippers with a long and happy life.
Janmashtami 2021 Date(s)
30th August 2021
Nishita Puja Time – 23:58 to 00:44
Parana Time – After 09:44 (31st August)
Rohini Nakshatra End Time – 09:44
Ashtami Tithi Begins – 23:24 (29th August)
Ashtami Tithi Ends – 01:59 (31st August)