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JANMASHTAMI

By: Astha Raghav.

 Krishna Janmashtami, also known simply as Janmashtami or Gokulashtami, is an annual Hindhu festival that celebrates the birth of Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu. It is observed according to the Hindhu lunisolar calendar, on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) in Shraavana or Bhadrapad (depending on whether the calendar chooses the new moon or full moon day as the last day of the month), which overlaps with August or September of the Gregorian Calendar.

It is an important festival, particularly in the Vaishnavism tradition of Hinduism. Dance-drama enactments of the life of Krishna according to the Bhagavata Purana (such as Rasa Lila or Krishna Lila), devotional singing through the midnight when Krishna was born, fasting (upavasa), a night vigil (Ratri Jagaran), and a festival (Mahotsav) on the following day are a part of the Janmashtami celebrations. It is celebrated particularly in Mathura and Vrindavan, along with major Vaishnava and non-sectarian communities found in Manipur, Assam, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and all other states of India.

Krishna Janmashtami is followed by the festival Nandotsav, which celebrates the occasion when NandaBaba distributed gifts to the community in honor of the birth.


Every year, Janmashtami is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Krishna. Though we all have nicknames, Lord Krishna has a whopping 108 names! Some of his names include Govind, Mohan, Hari, Vasudeva, Shyam, Ghanshyam, and to name a few more! These names reflect in all the bhajans and hymns which devotees sing on Janmashtami!

Janmashtami is celebrated with great enthusiasm by Hindus across the Indian subcontinent and beyond. In "A Janmashtami Journey", we take a whistle-stop tour around the world to look at how this great festival is celebrated.

In countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Canada, and New Zealand, where there is a large community of Hindus, Janmashtami is celebrated. The day is marked with great fanfare and fervour in London, the US, and Poland and there is a unique temple in the Macau peninsula.


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