Festivals in India are calculated according to the Vedic calendar. In Vedic astrology, or Jyotish, this is the lunar month of Shravana. This month, we rejoice in the birth of Lord Krishna. According to mypanchang.com, we celebrate Krishna Janmashtami 2019 on August 22nd in North and South America. India and the rest of the world will have their Krishna Janmasthami 2019 festivities on August 23rd.
So, that is the evening of the 22nd into midnight of the 23rd for North America. For India, it is the night of the 23rd into midnight of the 24th.
As we celebrate Krishna Janmashtami 2019, we are honoring the birth of our beloved Krishna, who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Vishnu is the preserver of the universe and the upholder of dharma. Krishna was a cowherd in this particular incarnation. Krishna was born in the town of Mathura in the state of Uttar Pradesh on a stormy midnight over 5,000 years ago. So, we celebrate his birth at midnight. Shri Krishna is said to have taken birth to rid the world of evil.
The sacred text, the Bhagavad Gita features a dialogue between Shri Krishna and his devoted disciple, Arjuna, regarding proper dharma, or right moral conduct. One well-known quote by Krishna is: “It is better to strive in one’s own dharma than to succeed in the dharma of another. Nothing is ever lost in following one’s own dharma. But competition in another’s dharma breeds fear and insecurity.”
The word janma translates as “birth”. Ashtami (ush-tuh-me) is the 8th phase of the Moon. Krishna Janmashtami 2019 is celebrated on the 8th phase of the waning Moon in Vedic astrology. He was born with his Moon in Rohini nakshatra. Rohini is the eye of the bull in Taurus and is one of the brightest stars in the sky.
There are many traditional steps followed in the worship for Krishna’s birthday. Krishna Janmashtami is also known as Krishna Jayanti, Krishnashtami, Gopalashtami, or Gokulashtami.
How to celebrate Krishna Janmashtami 2019
Krishna devotees traditionally fast during the day or refrain from eating grains. Often food is made from sabudana or tapioca. They stay up till midnight celebrating Krishna’s life. Plays are re-enacted depicting snippets of Krishna’s life and his glory. Krishna bhaktas adorn statues of Lord Krishna with colorful new clothes and worship him. Krishna temples worldwide are packed with worshipers. Many mandirs (temples) will perform an abhishek (ritual bath) to a statue of Krishna and have devotees participate in the ritual. Worshippers also take turns pushing a small swing or jhula with baby Krishna or with Radha and Krishna seated.
They chant bhajans or devotional songs to Shri Krishna and lose themselves in the bliss of ecstasy during the chants. One traditional chant sung is “Hare Rama, Hare Krishna”. They break their fast at midnight and enjoy a glorious feast to celebrate the birth of Krishna.
Worshippers also can offer tulsi attar or essential oil placed on a cotton ball to a statue of Krishna. The tulsi mala is used to worship Lord Krishna, as is the tulsi plant.
Baby Krishna (or “Bala Krishna”) was a playful, mischievous child. He had great enthusiasm for life. Thus, it’s traditional to celebrate his birthday with a great deal of mirth and merriment. Krishna is also associated with bhakti or devotion. Krishna devotees will lovingly shower Krishna with their devotion on his birthday. Happy Krishna Janmashtami 2019! Jai Shri Krishna!