Krishna Janmashtami 2019, also called Janmashtami and Gokulashtami falls on August 23rd to August 24th this year. The annual Hindu festival celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna, believed to be the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu. Maharashtra observes the day as Dahi Handi.
Janmasthami 2019: Rituals and festivities
To celebrate the day, Lord Krishna temples are decorated with flowers. The younger version of Lord Krishna is bathed, made to wear new clothes, offered different delicacies and then is cradled to sleep. Processions, bhajan, kirtan and satsang meetings are organised at various places to remember him and celebrate his birth.
Women also draw tiny foot prints outside their house doors and kitchen with vermilion or riseflour paste, walking towards their house, a symbolism for Krishna's stepping into their homes.
A famous sportive event, Dahi Handi is usually celebrated across Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa, with a little celebration in other parts of the country and is celebrated on the next day of Krishna Janmashtami. To play the sport, boys get together to form human pyramids to break an earthen pot which is fixed at a certain height from the ground.
The boy who stands at the top is called Govinda and the groups are either called handis or mandals.
Devotees of Lord Krishna observe fast on Krishna Janmashtami.
Janmasthami 2019: History and Significance
It is believed that Lord Krishna was born in an era of chaos, when evil was everywhere as the evil king Kansa had his reign. Unfortunately, Kansa was Krishna's biological mother Devaki's son. He wanted to kill Krishna as he was believed to be the reason for his fall. In the meantime, Vasudeva in a bid to protect Krishna from Kansa's evil forces took him to Gokul where he was raised by his foster parents Nanda and Yashoda.
From dodging several assassinations attempts by uncle Kansa to growing up as a charming cow herder in Gokul, every minute details of Krishna's much-celebrated life can be found in Hindu epic Mahabharata.
Janmasthami 2019: Puja Timings
According to drikpanchang.com, the Ashtami Tithi or puja vidhi begins from 8:09 am on Aug 23 and ends at 8:32 am on Aug 24, 2019. Devotees can keep janmashtami vrat or fast during his time.