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Sri Krishna Janmashtami

Updated on March 26, 2019
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Lakshmi Menon is a published author who writes both fiction and non-fiction. She is also a travel enthusiast.

Courtesy: (bbalaji)
Courtesy: (bbalaji)

Sri Krishna Jayanthi

Sri Krishna Janmashtami, also known as Sri Krishna Jayanthi Festival, Krishnashtami, Gokulashtami, Ashtami Rohini, krishna Jayanti and Janmashtami, is celebrated all over India.

Courtesy: (gopal1035)
Courtesy: (gopal1035)

Significance of the Festival

Sri Krishna Jayanthi is the birthday celebration of Lord Sri Krishna, who was the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Sri Krishna is considered to be the Lord's most glorious incarnation. Krishna was born to Devaki and Vasudev in Mathura, to kill demolish the demon Kamsa and his evil acts thus reinstate peace on earth. When Kamsa came to know that a child was born to his sister and he heard a heavenly voice about the birth of a child who would be his future killer, imprisoned her and her husband. But by then Yashoda and Nandagopal had already taken away their child to bring him up safely in Gokul. When the designated time came Krishna came before Kamsa and killed him to save the people from his tyranny. After his duty was over he went back to heaven. Therefore, Sri Krishna Jayanthi is celebrated as the birth of Lord Krishna.

The Ten Incarnations of Lord Vishnu

1. Matsya (the fish)

2. Koorma (the turtle)

3. Varaaha (the boar)

4. Narasimha (half man- half lion)

5. Vaamana (the dwarf)

6. Parasurama (the angry man)

7. Rama (the perfect human)

8. Krishna (absolute incarnation)

9. Buddha

10. Kalki (the destroyer).

Courtesy: Flickr (gopal1035)
Courtesy: Flickr (gopal1035)

When is it celebrated

Since Lord Krishna’s birth occurred on the eight day of the dark half of the month Shravan of the Indian calendar on the day of Rohini star , the festival is celebrated on that day, which usually falls between August and September on the Christian calendar. Accordingly, in the year 2010, this important festival falls on September 2nd.

Rituals and Ceremonies

The festival is observed by fasting on the previous day, which is broken only at midnight, the time when Krishna is believed to have been born. Sanskrit hymns are recited in praise of Lord Krishna during this festival. People spend their day at temples, offering prayers and singing his deeds. Children get dressed up as Lord Krishna and play his mischievous games.

Lord Krishna's enchanting form with flute in hand is worshipped in several homes in India. The women folk draw patterns of little children's feet outside the house in Southern India. This is to symbolize that Little Krishna enters every room of their houses to bless them.

Sweets like laddus and payasam are made during this occasion.

Elaborate rituals are performed at Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, northern India, the birth place of Lord Krishna. The devotees of Lord Krishna at ISKCON temples all over celebrate this festival in a grand way. The other popular temples where Sri Krishna Jayanthi is celebrated are Sri Krishna Temple at Guruvayur in Kerala and Sri Krishna Temple at Udupi in Karnataka. Appam and Palpayasam are offered to Lord Krishna in Guuruvayur temple. In Kerala this festival is known as Ashtami Rohini.

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