Janmashtami, also known as Krishna Janmashtami is a religious festival commemorating the birth of Lord Krishna. One of the most important festivals of the Hindu religion, Janmashtami falls on August 14 this year. According to the Hindu lunar calendar, Krishna was born on ‘Ashtami’ or the ‘eighth day’ at midnight in the holy month of Shravana. The festival is celebrated popularly in Mathura (said to be the birthplace of Lord Krishna), in parts of Gujarat and Rajasthan, and in the northeastern states like Assam and Manipur.
SIGNIFICANCE AND CELEBRATIONS
The Vaishnav tradition hails the festival as one of the most important religious festivals. Raas lila or Krishna lila — dance-drama enactments of Krishna’s life as per the Bhagavata Purana – is a popular tradition to commemorate the occasion. In addition to Raas lila, a night vigil (jagarana), fasting (upavasa) and celebrations (mahotsava) are important parts of Janmashtami. The event is particularly celebrated by ardent Vaishnavism followers because Krishna is believed to be the eighth avatar of their god Vishnu. Popular mythological tales narrate how Lord Krishna’s uncle, King Kansa, wanted to kill him. So as soon as he was born, his father Vasudeva took him across the Yamuna to Gokul where he was then taken care of by his foster parents Nanda and Yashoda. On Janmashtami, devotees honour how Krishna emerged victorious over the trials and tribulations over his birth, and later over the evil King Kansa.
Believers fast the whole day, spending the time singing devotional songs; they also maintain a vigil into the night as it is believed that Krishna was born at midnight. They break the fast on the next day when the Ashtami Tithi is over. The devotees offer ‘chappan bhog’ on the following day known as ‘Nanda Utsav’ and prepare a list of 56 dishes to offer to the god. After the offering, the prasad is then distributed and shared among the devotees so that they can end their fast.
The ‘bhog’ is known to contain all of Krishna’s favourite dishes, who is also lovingly known as ‘maakhan chor’, or butter thief. Malpua, mathri, jalebi, makhan mishri, rabri, rasgulla, murabba, saag, khichdi, milk, dry fruits, etc., are some of the common dishes included in the bhog.
DATE AND PUJA MAHURAT
According to drikpanchang.com, Nishita Kala is the time of midnight as per Vedic time and the time to break the fast is called the Parana. For the followers of Vaishnava Sampradaya, the festival falls on August 15 and their Parana starts at 5:54am.
Nishita Puja Time: 12:03am to 12:47am
Midnight time of Nishita phase is 12:25am
On August 15,
Parana Time: After 5:39pm
Ashtami Tithi End Time: 5:39pm