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MAIN Arrow to Home Life - Holidays Holidays & Observances Arrow to Janmashtami Janmashtami - Krishna's Birthday

Janmashtami - Birth of Krishna Janmashtami, or Krishna's birthday, is one of the most anticipated Hindhu festivals celebrating the birth of Krishna.

Due to regional variations that have endured down through the centuries, Janmashtami is traditionally observed around the world on different days. This year, the festival will be widely observed on Monday, September 3, 2018.

As always, the the birth of Krishna is a time for prayer, fasting & joyful rituals, plays and dramas. It is also a time for religious processions and popular songs, as well as reflection on the deity's life on earth, and the loving spiritual connection that he continues to forge with Hindus everywhere.

The Birth of Krishna

the birth of Krishna
A tableau depicting the birth of Krishna.

As any Hindhu school child can tell you, Lord Krishna was born under humble and very harrowing circumstances.

It had been foretold to his uncle, the wicked King Kansa, that an as un-yet born nephew would some day slay him. To thwart the prediction, the king imprisoned Krishna's parents and slew each of their seven sons as they were born.

Upon Krishna's birth, however, the doors of the prison miraculously swung open!

Aided by his father, the infant who was hidden in a wicker basket made his escape and (just as it was foretold) the evil King Kansa ultimately did meet his end at Krishna's hand.

Krishna's reputation grew as a powerful vanquisher of evil, as well as a beloved example of human lovingkindness. He became a touchstone to the heavens, surely a reincarnation of Lord Vishnu, the divine ruler of the Universe who revealed to Arjuna the Bhagavad Gita – which to this day remains the guiding religion for Hindus around the world.

Dahi Handi Jai Bharat Seva Sangh
Young men form a human pyramid to break
the dahi handi in Mumbai, India.

Celebrating Janmashtami

Today, many Hindus will prepare for the big day by fasting until midnight, followed by a joyful celebration and an exchange of gifts. In Hindhu temples, the retelling of the rescue of Krishna is a popular part of Janmashtami religious festivals, along with readings from the Bhagavad Gita.

In schools, children don Krishna costumes and crowns, play musical instruments, and enjoy special treats in honor of the day. At home, the house is cleaned thoroughly for the arrival of Krishna, and special Janmashtami recipes are prepared in his honor. including extra helpings of sevai kheer, a rich and creamy milk pudding.

In the streets, a very popular sight around the time of Krishna's birthday are the teams of human pyramids formed by young men and teens to reenact an impish behavior in the life of the child Krisha -- in a popular ritual known as dahi handi. A handi is a clay pot filled with buttermilk and the team who reaches the top to break the pot is declared the winner!

Most recently, street plays also have become a common sight in big cities throughout India and the world as Hindus reenact the story of Krishna around the time of Janmashtami.

More about Janmashtami around the Web

On the Web, learn more about the festivals, foods and temple rituals surrounding the birth of Krishna, including songs, incantations and special prayers that are all part of annual Janmashtami celebrations .....


Krishna's Birthday Bash - "To know Lord Krishna is to adore him..." with a nicely written account of the modern celebration including an overview of related stories, customs and traditions.

Katmat's Potpourri - Exploits of Lord Krishna - A virtual tableau of Krishna's life told in popular artworks depicting him as a mischievous child, warrior & humanitarian, plus related links & suggested reading. - Site dedicated soley to his life & teachings including Webcasts, suggested reading, dozens of downloadable pictures, desktop art & e-cards, related resources

Janmashtami Recipes - Traditional foods for Krishna's birthday including complete recipes and instructions for Doodhachi Kheer, Murukku, Golden Yogurt, Peda, Gopalkala, Singhare Ke Puri and Kalakand.


also see -> Diwali | Holi | Makar Sankranti

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