In the Vedic tradition, holidays are calculated according to the lunar Vedic calendar. Holidays are commemorated each year based on the lunar month and the phase of the Moon, according to Vedic astrology, or Jyotish. This is the month of Sharavana, and it is the month when we honor Lord Krishna’s birthday. According to mypanchang, we celebrate Krishna Janmashtami 2015 on September 4 in North and South America, and Europe. In the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and the rest of the world, we celebrate Krishna Janmashtami 2015 on September 5.
As we celebrate Krishna Janmashtami 2015, we are honoring the birth of beloved Krishna, who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. He was a cowherd in this incarnation. The sacred Puranic text, the Bhagavad Gita is 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-tum-me) is the 8th tithi (ti-thee) or phase of the Moon. Krishna Janmashtami 2015 is celebrated on the 8th phase of the waning Moon IKrishna paksha) in Vedic astrology. The phase of the Moon is calculated daily in the Vedic calendar. Krishna Janmashatmi is celebrated from moonrise to midnight on the tithi of ashtami. Krishna Janmashtami is also known as Krishna Jayanti.
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 “Bala 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.