In India, holidays are calculated according to the Vedic calendar. In Vedic astrology, or Jyotish, this is the lunar month of Sharavana. In this month, we honor Lord Krishna‘s birthday. According to mypanchang, we celebrate Krishna Janmashtami 2018 on September 2 worldwide.
As we celebrate Krishna Janmashtami 2018, we are honoring the birth of our beloved Krishna, who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. He 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. He 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 2018 is celebrated on the 8th phase of the waning Moon in Vedic astrology. There are many traditional steps followed in the worship for Krishna’s birthday. Krishna Janmashtami is also known as Krishna Jayanti, Krishna Jayanthi, or Gokulashtami.
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. 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.
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. Happy Krishna Janmashtami 2018! Jai Shri Krishna!
Also published on Medium.