Why is Krishna Janmashtami Celebrated?
Krishna Janmashtami marks the birthday of Lord Krishna. He was the eighth son of the princess Devaki and King Vasudeva. It is believed that Lord Krishna was born on 18th July 3228 BCE and lived until 18th February 3102 BCE. His birthplace was Mathura which is located in present day Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh. He belonged to the Vrishni clan of Yadavas from Mathura. (Source: Wikipedia) King Kansa, the brother of Devaki, then ruled Mathura. He captured the throne by imprisoning his father, King Ugrasena. Kansa was a cruel ruler. He tortured the people of Mathura. Everybody wanted to get freed from the evil rule of Kansa. There was a prophecy which had predicted that Kansa would die at the hands of Devaki’s eighth son. Hearing this prophecy, Kansa got afraid, and he locked Devaki and Vasudeva in a prison cell. Kansa began to kill Devaki’s sons one after the other. When she was about to give birth to her eighth son, Lord Vishnu appeared to them and told them to take the son (Krishna) to Gokul to Nanda and Yashoda. When Krishna took birth, Vasudeva took him to Gokul, crossing the Yamuna River and quietly placed the child beside Yashoda. He returned with Yashoda’s daughter. Kansa thinking the child to be the eighth son of Devaki threw her on a stone, but she transformed herself into Yogmaya and warned Kansa that he would be killed at the hands of Krishna. Later on, when Krishna grew up, he returned to Mathura and killed Kansa. Everybody in Mathura rejoiced at the killing of Kansa at the hands of Krishna and praised the Lord for freeing them from the evil rule of Kansa. How Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated? Lord Krishna is believed to be born at the midnight on Janmashtami day. The celebrations reach their height during the midnight of the Janmashtami day. The Janmashtami celebrations are special in places like Mathura, Vrindavan, Gokul, and Dwarika where Krishna spent most of his life. The celebrations are marked by devotional songs, dances, Pujas, and Aarti. Temples are decorated, and people keep awake all night on Janmashtami. Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated in most parts of the country as well as abroad with great devotion, joy, and enthusiasm. The Janmashtami festivities start before dawn and continue all day long until late midnight. Celebrations are marked with Kirtans in which devotees sing hymns in praise of Lord Krishna. Dance and drama (usually Rasa Lila) are a special part of the Janmashtami celebrations. The deity of Krishna is decorated with flowers and garlands. The idol of Krishna is also bathed with a variety of auspicious liquids. Infancy Images and small idols of Krishna are placed in cradles in temples and homes. They are elaborately decorated with ornaments, flowers, and beautiful clothes. Devotees usually fast on the day of Janmashtami. Prasad is distributed after the conclusion of the birth ceremony of Lord Krishna.