Otherwise known as Janmashtami or Gokulashtami, Krishna Janmastami celebrates the birth of Krishna the eighth incarnation of Vishnu, Krishna. As the Hindu God of compassion, tenderness and love Krishna is one of the most revered deity’s in Hinduism’s assembly – the festival is observed on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) in the month of Bhadrapada of the Hindu Calendar, which is August/September in our Western calendar.
It’s said that Krishna was born in a time of anarchy, where religious persecution was rife, and freedoms were supressed under Krishna’s uncle King Kamsa. Of course, Krishna eventually defeats King Kamsa relieving the Indian people of his tyranny and sealing his own greatness. To celebrate the birth of Krishna, the Hindu people keep fast, perform enactments of Krishna’s life recounted in the Bhagavata Purana, one of Hinduisms ‘Great Histories’ that promotes devotion to Krisha and is 18,000 verses long! Once midnight passes (the time that Krishna is believed to have been born), any statues of baby Krishna are washed, clothed and then placed in a cradle. Following that, Hindus break their fast by sharing food and sweets.
The Janmashtami is celebrated a little more wildly in the areas of Mathura and Vrindavan where it’s believed Krishna spent his life - the temples and homes of the two areas are colourfully decorated, night long prayers and religious mantras are offered in the local temples. These northern regions of India are thought to be the birth place of Vaishnavism, a tradition within Hinduism that places greater reverence on Vishnu and subsequently Krishna, being his most popular avatar.
So, from all of us at Vandu, happy Krishna Janmastami!
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