of Janamashtami (Krishna Jayanti)
The Janamashtami festival marks the birth of Krishna,
the most revered God in Hindu Mythology. The festival of Janmashtmi
observes the birthday of Lord Krishna who first appeared in Mathura,India
about 5000 years ago Krishna is perceived by most Hindus to be an
avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu, who is regarded as the highest avatar.
It is believed that all other deities are manifestations
of him. Krishna is considered to be a warrior, hero, teacher and
philosopher by Hindus.
Krishna's birthday is celebrated in the month of
Sravana and celebrations are spread over two days. The first day
is called Krishan Ashtami or Gokul Ashtami. The second day is known
as Kaal ashtami or more popularly Janam Ashtami.
For the 48 hour period Hindus are likely to forego
sleep and instead sing bhajans, which are traditional Hindu songs.
It is believed that Krishna was born at midnight and it is at this
time that the true festivities commence. Food is prepared from milk
and curds said to have been favoured by Krishna. Some Hindus choose
to fast for the first day of Janamashtami, choosing only to eat
after the midnight celebrations. Dances and songs are used to venerate
and remember this supreme God. Plays are also carried out re-enacting
scenes from Krishna's early life. In Temples images of Krishna are
bathed and placed in cradles, whilst the shankh (conch shell) is
played and bells are rung. Holy mantras are also chanted to venerate
Given the significance of Krishna in the Hindu
pantheon Janamashtami is celebrated with great importance and consideration
all over the country. The temples hold several programmes each trying
to out do the other in decorating the deities and the temples.
- In Janmashtami, the devotees of Krishna stay awake singing bhajans
- traditional songs - until midnight, the time it's said the Lord
- People fast all day and eat only after the midnight birth ceremony.
Midnight birth ceremony:
- Often the image of the baby Krishna is placed on a cradle with
an effigy of a cobra above him. This represents the giant snake
that, legend has it, protected him.
- Priests chant holy mantras and pour special substances from
a conch shell onto the idol. These include Gangajal (water from
the holy Ganges river), milk, ghee (clarified butter), oil, and
- Midnight prayers, hymns and religious songs are performed to
celebrate the god.
The legend of Krishna's
- Legend tells how Krishna was born in an extraordinary way and
live an equally extraordinary life.
- At the time of his birth, Krishna's parents Devaki and Vasudevm,
were imprisioned by Devaki's evil brother Kansha.
- He kept them under lock and key because, it had been foretold,
the eighth son of his sister would kill him and Kansha wanted
to ensure all the babies were slayed as soon as they were born
to protect himself.
- The evil Kansha killed his sister's seven children one by one
but when Krishna was born, divine intervention saved his life.
# Krishna, who came to the
world to rid it of all evil, was born on a dark rainy night at midnight.
had miraculously fallen into such a deep sleep they did not know
he had been born and so could not tell the king - sparing his life.
whisked the baby to Gokul and to safety, helped by a number of miraculous
events on the journey.
cleared from their way but, most miraculous of all, they were protected
by a giant snake called the Adisesha.
grew up peacefully in Gokul. Even as a child he performed several
miracles and his exploits are now the immortal legends of Braj.
a number of asuras, vanquished the Kali Nag and later on he killed
King Kansha too, fulfilling the prophesy and ending his evil reign.