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Janmashtami 2023: Know time, rituals, significance and more about the festival

On this day, Lord Krishna, the eighth reincarnation of Lord Vishnu, was born in the Rohini Nakshatra. This Janmashtami is said to be the 5250th birth anniversary of Lord Krishna.

Pradeep Pattanayak
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Janmashtami, also known as Krishnashtami, Gokulashtami, Ashtami Rohini, Srikrishna Jayanti and Sree Jayanti, is one of the biggest festivals for the Hindus. 

Janmashtami is a portmanteau of two words. They are Janma or birth and Ashtami or eight. The festival is called so because the festival is celebrated on the eighth day of the Krishna Paksha in the month of Bhadraba or Bhadrapad.  

On this day, Lord Krishna, the eighth reincarnation of Lord Vishnu, was born in the Rohini Nakshatra. 

While the festival is widely celebrated across the nation, in Mathura, Lord Krishna’s birthplace and in Vrindaban, where he spent his childhood days, the festival is celebrated with extra pomp and gaiety. Lakhs of devotees from across the globe visit these two holy cities to get immersed in the love for Krishna and the mood of festivity. 

The Hindus across Bharat start preparations for the day well ahead of the festival. They whitewash their houses, apply fresh coats of colours and then illuminate them with running lights. 

On the festival day, they observe fast, wear new dresses, worship Lord Krishna in his toddler form and visit temples dedicated to Lord Krishna. They prepare delectable sweets and dishes that are favourite of Lord Krishna. 

The Janmashtami fast generally starts post-midnight when the mahurat (auspicious time) begins and ends with a midnight feast the following night.

Here are the details of the Janmashtami 2023 mahurats:

Ashtami Tithi Begins: 03.37 pm on September 6
Ashtami Tithi Ends: 04.14 pm on September 7
Rohini Nakshatra Begins: 9.20 am on September 6
Rohini Nakshatra Ends: 10.25 am on September 7

The auspicious time to worship Lord Krishna on Janmashtami starts at 11.57 pm and will continue till 12.42 am

The day after Janmashtami is observed as ‘Dahi Handi’, which is the main attraction of the festival. ‘Dahi Handi’ is a portmanteau of two words ‘Dahi’ means curd and ‘Handi’ means earthen pot. 

As a part of this celebration, people assemble and form a human pyramid and the person at the top of the pyramid tries to reach out to an earthen pot filled with curd and other milk products. When the pot is broken, the milk products spill on the people standing below. 

The reason why ‘Dahi Handi’ is an important part of the Janmashtami celebration lies in the fact that little Krishna was very much fond of butter, curd and other milk products. He would love butter and curd so much that he would enter neighbours’ houses to steal them. To save their milk products from naughty Krishna, they would hang earthen pots filled with milk products from the ceiling. 

Remembering this, the ‘Dahi Handi’ ritual is being observed today. At places, competitions between groups are organised. 

This Janmashtami is said to be the 5250th birth anniversary of Lord Krishna.