Celebrated by Hindus across the world, Janmashtami or Gokulashtami marks the birth of the Lord Vishnu’s eighth reincarnation, Lord Krishna.
Lord Krishna was born on the eighth day of the Krishna Paksh (waning moon) in the month of Shrawan, according to the Hindu calendar. This year, the festival of Janmashtami will be celebrated on 2nd September.
According to Hindu mythology, in a quest to eradicate evil and restore ‘Dharma’, Lord Vishnu took the form of Krishna as the eighth child of Vasudeva and Devaki, to save people from the evil tyrant king Kansa.
Kansa, who happened to be the brother of Devaki, was cursed to die at the hands of the ‘eighth son of his sister’. In order to prevent the curse from turning into a reality, he imprisoned Devaki and Vasudeva and killed all of their children as soon as they were born.
When Krishna was born at midnight, spiritual forces rescued Krishna from the evil ruler. Vasudeva carried him across the Yamuna river to Gokul, to be raised by Nanda and Yashoda. Krishna spent the rest of his childhood in Gokul Vrindavan.
Krishna is known by many other names such as Govinda, Gopala, Mukunda, Madhusudhana.
Krishna is worshipped as a God in Hindu mythology, and his birth is celebrated with excitement, devotion and passion.
Devotees keep a fast on this auspicious day, the temples are cleaned and decorated with flowers and lights. White butter and sugar is distributed among the people as ‘prasad’.
As a part of the tradition, earthen pots containing butter are broken at a lot of places.
Devotees sing ‘bhajans’ starting from the evening welcoming the arrival of Lord Krishna at the stroke of midnight. Conch shells are blown, and devotees break their fast and consume the Prasad after a puja.