Janmashtami is one of the most important Hindu festivals which is celebrated to mark the birth of Krishna, who is an avatar of Vishnu. This year Janmashtami shall be celebrated on August 24.
The largest celebration of Janmashtami takes place in Mathura and Vrindavan where it is believed Krishna was born. Since Lord Krishna was born at midnight, devotees observe a fast and sing devotional songs for him during the midnight hour. After that, statues of baby Krishna are washed and placed for worship. Post midnight devotees break their fast and share food and sweets.
History of Janmashtami
Mathura was being ruled by the evil King Kansa, who had a sister called Princess Devaki. Devaki was married to Vasudeva with a lot of fanfare, however, Kansa got to know that there was a prophecy according to which their eighth son would cause his downfall.
When informed about this, Kansa at once imprisoned Devaki and Vasudeva. He got their first six children killed, the seventh child, called Balram, was mystically transferred from Devaki’s womb to that of princess Rohini, who stayed in Vrindavan. After their eighth child was born, Vasudeva managed to rescue child Krishna and took him to Vrindavan, where he gave him to Nand and Yashoda.
Vasudeva then came back to Mathura with a girl child to give to Kansa, so that he wouldn’t kill her. However, Kansa still tried to kill the baby by throwing her on a huge rock. However, as he tried to do this, she transformed into Goddess Durga, warning him about his death.
Date and time
Date of Janmashtami: August 24
Nishita Puja Time: August 25, 12:01 AM - 12:46 AM
Dahi Handi: August 25, 2019
Parana as per Dharma Shastra: Parana time - Post 5:59 AM on August 25
Krishna devotees fast for the whole day and break their fast when Ashtami tithi gets over. The Krishna Abhishekam is then performed. During the Krishna Abhishekam, milk, ghee and water are offered to Lord Krishna. Devotees also go to temples and bathe Krishna’s idol in water, milk and honey at home. The day after Janmashtami is celebrated as the dahi handi festival.