Krishna Janmashtami is observed on the Ashtami tithi, (the eighth day) of the Krishna Paksha (dark half) of the month of Shravan in the Hindu calendar, when the Rohini Nakshatra is ascendant.It has been celebrated since ages as the birthday of Lord Shri Krishna 8th avatar (Incarnation) of Lord Vishnu. 🙂
This tale goes thousand’s of years ago, there was king named Ugrasen who was good natured & loyal towards people in his kingdom. There was happiness & content amongst people of Mathura during his regime. He had 2 children namely Kans & Devki. Devki was of divine nature and pure soul whereas Kans emerged to be notorious and devilish in nature. He killed good people & tortured sages along with his other demons friends like Shishupal, Vakradant and others. Soon there came a time when evil seemed to winning against good. At that time Lord Vishnu promised mother earth that he would soon take birth as man and kill all the demon’s and would finally destroy all that was evil.
As time passed by Devki too grew up in age, Ugrasen was now in search of ideal match for his daughter. He soon found Vasudev the son of Shoorsen, of the Yadu and Vrishni dynasties as the perfect bride-groom for his daughter. He organised a lavish wedding ceremony for his only daughter.
While Vasudev & Devki were heading back home after marriage ceremony, Kans was riding their chariot with extreme happiness and enthusiasm.
There came an akashvani (oracle) which said, “O great King Kansa, don’t be so happy for this wedding, as Devki’s 8th Son will kill you & destroy your entire evil dyansty”
Listening to these word’s Kans became furious, he dragged Devki out of the chariot and when he was about kill her. Vasudev stopped him, he promised to Kansa that he would hand over each of his child to him as soon as they are born. He could kill all of them but grant Devki’s life instead. Kansa agreed to this promise. He sent Devki, Vasudev & Ugrsen to prison.
Everytime Devki gave birth to a child, Kansa snatched them and killed the children by banging against a stone. In this cruel manner he killed Devki’s 6 childrens. When 7th time Devki got pregnant lord Vishnu created a miracle & transferred devki’s fetus to Vasudev’s first wife Rohini’s womb and thus, Krishna elder brother Baliram was born at Gokul village. Kans thought that due to his terror Devki’s 7th child was miscarriage.
As time passed by Devki’s 8th child was on it’s Kans and his men were extremely as he was the one to be killed. Kans increased the number soliders at Devki’s prison. He himself was to extremely alert to kill Devki’s 8th son. Finally on Ashtami tithi of the Krishna Paksha of the month of Shravan, Devki gave birth to a baby boy. 🙂
At that time God miraculous opened all the doors of prison where Devki & Vasudev were being kept.All the chain’s Vasudev’s leg’s & hands were broken on their own.Kans & his servants, solider’s all of them feel asleep.So no one in Mathura could realize that Devki gave birth to a son. There was again an oracle (akashavni) which told Vasudev to take baby to Gokul at Nandraja’s palace. There was heavy rain & flood’s at Yamuna river.
Vasudev covered his son in a cloth and put him cane basket and started heading towards Gokul to Nandaraja’s palace. When he was walking in the flood’s Yamuna river excited to touch Shri Krishna came up with huge waves. Terrified Vasudev put child on his head to save him from getting wet. Finally Krishna made his feet gently touch Yamuna’s water. Only after this Vasudev safely reached Gokul & kept his son next to sleeping Yashoda. So was the story of birth of Lord Krishna,full of thrill, devotion, example of faith in God. 🙂
Festivity for over Two Days
Janmashtami festivities continue for two days and reach its peak at midnight of the first day. This is the time when Lord Krishna is said to have been born. The blessed event marking Bhagwan Krishna’s birth is celebrated with zeal in different states of India. Mathura, the birthplace of Lord is particulary famous for its grand celebrations. Janmashtami is also celebrated with verve in the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.
Celebrated with Splendour
Sri Krishnashtami is celebrated with lot of pomp and show. During the midnight celebration, lord’s idol is bathed with Panchamrit and then the cradle is rocked. Devotees fast all day long and break it after the birth of Bhagwan Krishna at midnight. Songs and hymns are sung by people accompanied by dancing in praise of their favourite ‘Makhan Chor’. Aarti is performed by blowing conch and ringing of bells. Elaborate Pooja (Prayer) and ceremonies are held in the honour of Bhagwan. Prasad is distributed among devotees after the birth ceremony.
Environment of Euphoria and Glee
Janmashtami creates an environment of happiness and joy among the devotees. With loads of ongoing fun activities, people are lost in the joy of divine songs and dances performed in praise of Lord. Colorful Rasleela (plays) are performed by devotees depicting significant phases and acts of Lord’s life.
Janmashtami Special Dishes
As Lord Krishna was very fond of sweets, milk and other milk products like butter and buttermilk, so his devotees make sweets of these products to commemorate the occasion. Sweets like Doodhachi Kheer, Pedha, Gopalkala or Gulabjamun are the major dishes prepared on Krishnashtami. Besides, Shrikhand and Singhare ki Poori are also made in households. Eatables like Murukku and Seeddai are popular in the Southern State of Tamil Nadu.
Jhulanotsava and Ghata Celebrations
A common feature of Janmashtami in North India, especially Mathura is ‘Jhulanotsava’. In this, Jhulas (swings) are hung in the courtyards of temples and houses in honour of the Lord. Another distinguishing feature of Janmashtami festival celebrations is ‘Ghatas’. This is a month long programme wherein a particular colour is selected as a theme and the entire temple is adorned with the same colour. The idol of God is also adorned with clothes of the same colour.
Dahi Handi, Raslila, Jhankis
Celebration of Sri Krishna’s birth will be incomplete without Raslila (Dance Drama). In this extremely popular and joyful drama, incidents from Sri Krishna’s life are enacted in form of dance. In a good performance devotees are virtually transformed into the time and age of Lord Krishna. The experience is absolutely mesmerizing.
The ritual of Dahi Handi is carried out with much fanfare and joy. Human pyramid is formed to break the Handi (Earthen Pot) suspended from top with the help of a rope. The exciting process involves throwing water by the onlookers to prevent the boys from breaking the earthen pot. Dahi Handi ritual is most popularly celebrated in Mumbai.
Jhankis (tableaux) are cribs and other decorations depicting the entire life of Lord Krishna right from the time of his birth. Various jhankis include bith of Lord Krishna in jail, Vasudev,father of Lord Krishna taking out of the jail to his friend Nand, River Yamuna in floods finally bowing to the feet of Lord and making way,Exchange of Lord with the baby girl etc.
Janmashtami is celebrated with fervor all over India and with the spread of Hinduism,it is celebrated with similar emotion all across the globe.