Janmashtami is one of the India's most popular festival celebrated across the country with great zest and zeal, to commemorate the birth of Lord Krishna. Considered one of the most powerful human incarnations of Lord Vishnu, Krishna was born around 5,200 years ago in Mathura. The sole objective of Lord Krishna's birth was to free the Earth from the evilness of demons. He played an important role in Mahabharata and propagated the theory of bhakti and good karma.
Here are the 10 important facts about this auspicious day known as Janmashtami:
1) The festival of Janmashtami also referred to as Krishna Janmashtami, Saatam Aatham, Gokulashtami, Ashtami Rohini or Srikrishna Jayanti marks the birthday of Lord Krishna, one of the most powerful human incarnations of Lord Vishnu.
2) According to the Hindu calendar, this religious festival is observed on the eighth day after the full moon of Shravana. It is believed that Lord Krishna took birth at midnight on the ashtami or the 8th day of the Krishnapaksha in the Hindu month of Shravan (August-September).
3) On Janmashtami, a lot of devotees of Lord Krishna observe a fast for the whole day and night, worship him and listen to his tales, recite hymns from the Gita, sing devotional songs, and chant the mantras.
4) As per Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna was born inside Mathura jail on a dark, windy and rainy night. The doors of the jail opened on their own, and his father Vasudev, who was imprisoned by Krishna's uncle (mama) Kansa, was released.
5) All over India, this festival is celebrated with great pomp and show. Krishna's birthplace Mathura and Vrindavan observe this day with an unmatched zeal and grandeur. Raslilas or religious plays are performed to recreate incidents from the life of Krishna and to commemorate his love for Radha.
6) Song and dance mark the celebration of this festive occasion. At midnight, the statue of infant Krishna is bathed and placed in a cradle, which is rocked, amidst the blowing of conch shells and the ringing of bells.
7) In Maharashtra, thousands of people come out on the streets on Janmashtami to enact the "Dahi Handi " (stealing of curd) episode from Krishna's childhood. Large earthen pots with butter are kept at great heights in the middle of the roads, and pyramids of volunteers try to break the pots to win prizes.
8) While the Raslila recreates the flirtatious aspects of Krishna's youthful days, the Dahi Handi celebrates God's playful and mischievous side.
9) The town of Dwarka in Gujarat, Krishna's own land, comes alive with major celebrations as hordes of visitors flock to the town.
10) Janmashtami being one of the most popular festivals for the Hindu community, this auspicious day is not only celebrated in India but also observed worldwide across many countries with great enthusiasm.