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Janmasthami 2019

Janmashtami 2019: Lesser known facts and celebrations

August 23, 2019

Marking the birth of Shri Krishna, considered one of the most powerful human incarnations of Lord Vishnu, Janmashtami 2019 is celebrated across India with much pomp and enthusiasm. Born thousands of years ago in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, Lord Krishna played an important role in the epic Mahabharata. He propagated the theory of bhakti and karma and his birth was significant in the triumph of good over evil.

According to the Hindu calendar, the festival is observed on the eighth day or ashtami after the full moon of Shravana. Janmasthami 2019 falls on August 24. 

Did you know?

As per Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna was born inside Mathura jail on a dark, rainy night. After he was born, the doors of the jail opened on their own. His father Vasudev, who was imprisoned by Krishna’s uncle, Kansa, was released.

Janmashtami is celebrated around eight days after Raksha Bandhan.

According to some scholars, Shri Krishna was born on July, 3228 B.C.E to the clan of Yadava.

The term Krishna in Sanskrit means ‘black’, as evident by the dark complexion of the Lord.

Lord Krishna has 108 names including Gopal, Govind, Kishan Kanhaiya, Shyam, Mohan, Shyam, Ghanshyam, Girdhari and Nandlala.

Lord Krishna was a cousin of the Pandavas through their father’s side. The Pandavas’ mother, Kunti was the sister of his father, Vasudev.

Janmasthami celebration

On Janmashtami, Shri Krishna’s devotees observe a fast for the whole day and worship him while listening to his tales and reciting hymns from the Bhagavad  Gita. They also sing devotional songs and chant mantras.

Krishna’s birthplace Mathura and Vrindavan celebrate the occasion with immense grandeur. Raslilas are performed wherein people recreate incidents from the his life, to commemorate his love for Radha.

At midnight, the statue of infant Krishna, Gopal, is bathed and placed in a cradle amidst chanting and prayers.

In Maharashtra, people celebrate Janmashtami by enacting the ‘Dahi Handi’ or stealing of curd episode from Krishna’s childhood. During this, large earthen pots of butter are kept at great heights and volunteers have to try to break the pots in order to win prizes.

In South India, Janmasthami is known as Gokulashtami and during this time devotees offer fruits as ‘prasadam’ to the Lord and sing devotional songs.

Not only in India, the festival is celebrate in foreign countries as well.  From USA to UK and Malayasia, devotees observe the occasion with great joy. In London, the festivity continues for two days and thousands of people attend the celebrations at ISKON Bhaktivedanta Manor, the UK headquarters of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).

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