Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated with a lot of excitement and zeal in India. The festival is celebrated exactly eight days after the Full Moon.
Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated with a lot of excitement and zeal in India. The festival is celebrated exactly eight days after the Full Moon and falls somewhere between August and September. On Krishnashtami or Gokulashtami the birth of God Krishna is celebrated whereas on the second day rituals of Kalastami are performed.
While Krishna is the most revered God across the whole of India, different traditions and rituals are followed for celebrating Janmashtami in different regions of the country.
Mathura is the birthplace of Krishna. It is in the prison of Kansa in Mathura that Vasudev and Devaki gave birth to Krishna and that is why on every Janmashtami the Lord is dressed in a very beautiful way and is then placed in the cradle with ropes decorated with flowers being pulled for giving a swing to the cradle. The actual birthplace has now been converted into Krishna Janma Bhoomi Temple and it is here that all the rituals are carried out.
It is the place where Krishna met Radha and grew up from a kid to a teenager and hence most of his leela’s happened in Vrindavan. Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated in different temples of Vrindavan from Shri Krishna Balaram Temple, Radharaman Temple to Rangnathji Temple, and Banke Bihari Temple. All these temples have a fixed schedule for abhishek, aarti, bhog and bhajan.
Vrindavan is also known for Madhuban where Krishna was supposed to play rasleela with the gopis.
It was the kingdom established by Lord Krishna on the shores of the Arabian Sea. According to mythology, Dwarka was made of gold. While the city is no more in existence and is said to have drowned in the sea there are still some parts of Dwarka in Gujarat where even today Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated with a lot of excitement. From offering chhapan bhog to Krishna, kirtans, and bhajans to sermons and rows of diyas giving the entire place a festive appearance, different rituals are performed in Dwarka to celebrate this special day.
While Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated in all parts of Maharashtra joyfully, it is the dahi-handi that is performed in Mumbai and in other parts of the state that is more famous. This dahi handi is so popular that there are different competitions with lakhs of prizes and many groups fight for the prize as they form a human pyramid to break the handi. Those who are part of such groups are called Govinda’s and the group that breaks the handi or pot tied at a great height containing dahi and butter wins the competition. The tradition celebrates the Krishna leela of stealing butter and dahi as a child.
Janmashtami is celebrated in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Andhra Pradesh in a colourful way. In Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, special communities organise celebrations, and special sweets are prepared in households. Other items like Murukku and Seeddai are also prepared for gopalnandan. Since Krishna loves milk and dishes made from milk, butter, and curd, many sweets cooked from milk products are offered to Krishna as prasad.
The entire day people visit temples, do namasmaran, chant Sanskrit shlokas and sing bhajans praising Lord Krishna.