In the Vedic tradition, holidays are calculated according to the lunar Vedic calendar. Holidays are honored each year based on the lunar month and the phase of the Moon, according to Vedic astrology, or Jyotish. This is the month of Sharavan, and it contains Lord Krishna’s birthday. We celebrate Krishna Janmashtami 2014 on August 17.
As we celebrate Krishna Janmashtami 2014, we are honoring the birth of beloved Krishna, who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The sacred Vedic text, the Bhagavad Gita is features a dialogue between Shri Krishna and his devoted disciple Arjuna, regarding proper dharma, or right moral conduct.
The word janma translates as “birth”. Ashtami is the 8th tithi (ti-thee) or phase of the Moon. Krishna Janmashtami 2014 is celebrated on the 8th phase of the waning Moon IKrishna paksha) in Vedic astrology. The phase of the Moon is calculated at sunrise in the Vedic calendar. Krishna Janmashatmi is celebrated at midnight following the day of tithi of ashtami.
Krishna devotees traditionally fast during the day or refrain from eating grains and stay up till midnight celebrating Krishna’s life. There are plays depicting snippets of Krishna’s life and his glory. They adorn and worship statues of Lord Krishna. Krishna temples worldwide are packed with worshippers. They chant bhajans or devotional songs to Shri Krishna and lose themselves in the bliss of ecstasy during the chants. One traditional chant is “Hare Rama, Hare Krishna”. They break their fast at midnight and enjoy a glorious feast to celebrate the birth of Krishna. The tulsi (holy basil) mala is associated with Krishna, as is the tulsi plant.
Baby Krishna (or “Bal Krishna”) was a playful, mischievous child. He had great enthusiasm for life. Thus, his birthday is celebrated with a great deal of mirth and merriment. Krishna is also associated with bhakti or devotion. Krishna devotees lovingly shower Krishna with their devotion on his birthday of Krishna Janmashtami.