Krishna took birth at midnight on the Ashtami or the 8th day of the Krishnapaksha or dark fortnight in the Hindu month of Shravan (August-September). This auspicious day is called Janmashtami. Indian as well as Western scholars have now accepted the period between 3200 and 3100 BC as the period in which Lord Krishna lived on earth.
How the Hindus celebrate the Janmashtami?
Fasting Rules on Krishna Janmashtami:
No Grains should be taken during Janmashtami Fasting until the Fast is broken on next day after Sunrise. All Rules followed during Ekadashi Fasting must be followed during Janmashtami fasting too.
Now, Here I am going to share some unknown and Interesting Facts about Janmashtami Festival:
1- The festival of Janmashtami is also referred to as Krishna Janmashtami, Saatam Aatham, Gokulashtami, Ashtami Rohini, Srikrishna Jayanti or Sree Jayanti. The occasion marks the birthday of Lord Krishna, eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu. Devotees believe that on the occasion of Janmashtami, Vishnu reincarnated in the form of Krishna who was born at midnight on the eighth day of Hindu lunar month, Shravan.
2- A lot of devotes also keep fast on the occasion of Janmashtami and they only break it at the midnight stroke of the eighth day of Shravan month, when Lord Krishna was born. They either consume only fruits and water during the day and some don’t even take water throughout the day.
3- Janmashtami is one of the most popular festivals for Hindu community; hence it’s not only in India that it is celebrated with such enthusiasm but Janmashtami celebrations are observed worldwide across many countries.
4- Being the land of diverse cultures, Janmashtami celebration in Singapore is worth watching. Road turns into the busiest spot during the festival. Shree Lakshmi Narayan Temple located at Chander Road is a vibrant place to be at to witness Janmashtami celebrations. While religious processions are carried out to mark the birth of the deity, it’s the ‘Krishna Chanting competition’ that is one of the unique features of Janmashtami festivity in Singapore.
5- Only thing Kansa had a soft corner was for his sister Devaki who after marrying Vasudev was blessed with eight sons, the last son was born as Sri Krishna, whose purpose of life was to bring an end to Kansa’s cruelty.
6- For Indians, the festival of Janmashtami is like a gala celebration over a week or so in the most famous temples in the cities and especially those located in Mathura and Vrindavan – the land of Lord Krishna.
7- Temples celebrating Janmashtami are illuminated, decked up with flowers, decorations and it just looks like a birthday party of a newborn. Filling the atmosphere with divinity are the fragrance of the flowers, soothing aroma of burning camphor and jingle of the temple bells.
8- Did you know that Janmashtami is observed as a National Holiday in Bangladesh? On this day, a procession starts from Dhakeshwari Temple in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, and then proceeds through the streets of Old Dhaka. This tradition of religious procession started back in 1902 but was put on a hold 1948 when Pakistan was formed and Muslim mobs in Dhaka were attacked, however, the procession ceremony resumed again in 1989.
9- In metros like Delhi and other cities, it’s usually the temples that have special arrangements and there are food stalls spread in the vicinity to treat people. Making of sweets such as the chakli, payasam or kheer, cheedai, and laddus or yellu oonde is one of the main highlights during this festival.
10- The ceremony of Dahi Handi includes an earthen pot containing butter, ghee, dry fruits and milk that is tied to a tope and hung at a great height about 20-40 feet. Climbing on each other, young men make human pyramids to reach to this curd pot (Dahi Handi) and break it. Once this pot is broken, ‘Dahikala’, ingredients in the pot are distributed among devotees.
11- Going back to the significance of Janmashtami, it was written in one of the verses in the Bhagavad-Gita (a sacred book narrated by Lord Vishnu) that whenever there evil will prevail and religion would be declined, I will reincarnate to save the good. Hence the relevance of Janmashtami is attached to this very fact and the festival encourages goodwill and to discourage all sorts of evil.
12 – Surprisingly, Kansa was made aware of this danger on Devaki’s wedding day only, which was much prior to Krishna’s birth. In order to defy this destiny, he kept Vasudev and Devaki in the prison where they gave birth to six sons and each child was killed by Kansa’s soldiers within minutes of their birth.
13- Within India itself, Janmashtami is celebrated in various forms. In regions down South, floors in houses are decorated with footprints made from flour, to symbolize Krishna’s childhood sport of stealing butter from houses. Sounds so interesting!
14- It is believed that thousands of years ago, Mathura, which is now the land of Krishna, was ruled by an evil demon called Kansa, who would keep the people living in surrounding villages terrified with his cruel deeds. It is said that there was no one considered brave and strong enough to defeat Kansa and he seemed invincible.
15- Coming to South Asia, Janmashtami is celebrated widely by Hindus in the Caribbean in the countries of Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and the Dutch Colony of Surinam, as most of them originated from Uttar Pradesh and are the descendants of indentured immigrants from UP.