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 drikpanchang.com, we celebrate Krishna Janmashtami 2023 on September 6th in North America and Europe and on September 6th and into the 7th in India. If you type in your location, you will be able to find the puja timings for your area.
In the U.S., you celebrate on the night of the 6th and stay up till at least midnight (which makes it the 7th) and celebrate Krishna’s birth. Krishna was born at midnight. His birth tithi is ashtami and his birth nakshatra is Rohini.
The word janma translates as “birth”. Ashtami (ush-tuh-me) is the 8th phase of the Moon. Krishna Janmashtami 2023 is celebrated on the 8th phase of the waning Moon in Vedic astrology. The Moon should also be in the nakshatra of Rohini in Taurus. The Moon is considered to be exalted or at its highest peak in Rohini.
As we celebrate Krishna Janmashtami 2023, 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. Drik Panchang states that Krishna Janmashtami 2023 is his 5250th birthday. 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.”
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 when both Rohini nakshatra and Ashtami tithi have ended 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. Shubh Krishna Janmashtami 2023! Jai Shri Krishna!