Krishna Janmashtami, also known as Gokulashtami, is an annual celebration observed on the eighth day of the Krishna Paksha during the month of Bhadrapada in the Hindu calendar. People celebrate Janmashtami to commemorate the birth of Lord Krishna. Various Hindu approaches and traditions are practiced around the world in different countries to celebrate this day. The Janmashtami festival reminds people of Vishnu’s triumph of good over evil. Krishna is considered to be a warrior, hero, and teacher. Krishna’s birthday is commemorated eight days after Raksha Bandhan and celebrations are spread over two days.
Celebration of Janmashtami
Krishna Janmashtami is a significant celebration observed at midnight, symbolizing Lord Krishna’s birth under dramatic circumstances. It is believed that he was born on a stormy and dark night to end his maternal uncle Kansa’s oppressive rule. Throughout India, this festival is marked by devotional songs, fasting during the day, and the adornment of temples dedicated to Krishna’s life journey. Mathura and Vrindavan hold special significance as the places where Krishna spent his life.
A unique tradition associated with Janmashtami is “Dahi Handi,” where people hang pots of butter and milk in the streets on poles. Men form human pyramids to reach and break these pots, recalling Krishna’s childhood when he playfully stole curds hung out of reach by their mothers. Krishna is often affectionately referred to as ‘Makhanchor,’ meaning the one who steals butter. Festivities include singing, group dancing, and a sense of joy and togetherness.