Krishna Janamashtami is also known as Krishna Ashtami, Saatam Aatham,Gokulashtami, Ashtami Rohini, Srikrishna Jayanti, Sree Jayanti or sometimes simply as Janmashtami..
On this day, Lord Krishna was born to Devki and Vasudeva. He was the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu. The festival is celebrated on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) of the month of Bhadrapad (August–September) in the Hindu calendar.
Who is Lord Krishna?
Krishna is a Hindu deity. He is worshipped across many traditions of Hinduism in a variety of different perspectives. He is the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. He has great godly powers. He worshipped with great devotion by devotees. Shree Krishna delivered Bhagwad Gita on battlefield to Arjun.
He, like Lord Rama, is also known for his bravery in destroying evil powers throughout his life. The Lord is usually depicted as playing the flute (murali), indicating spread of the melody of love to people.
He is also shown with his childhood devotee Radha. The Lord is usually remembered and worshipped as Radha-Krishna. The pair symbolizes the eternal love between people and god.
Lord Krishna is also shown with his pet cow, his childhood favorite. Lord Krishna performed many divine sports (leela) as a child.
Legend of Krishna Janamashtami :
Lord Krishna was the eighth son of Devaki and Vasudeva. Lord Krishna belonged to the Vrishni clan of Yadavas from Mathura and was the eighth son born to the Devaki Vasudeva.
King Kansa, Devaki's brother, had taken over the throne by imprisoning his father, King Ugrasena. Frightened by the astrology of his death by Devaki's eighth son, Kansa had the couple locked in a prison cell. After Kansa killed the first six children, and Devaki's apparent miscarriage of the seventh (which was actually a secret transfer of the infant to Rohini as Balarama), Krishna was born to them.
After his birth, Vishnu asked Vasudeva to take Krishna to Gokul to Nanda and Yashoda, where he could live safely, away from his Uncle Kansa. Vasudeva took Krishna with him and crossed the Yamuna to reach Gokul. There, everyone was asleep and so he quietly kept him there and returned with Yashoda's daughter. Kansa, thinking her to be Devki's eighth child, threw her on a stone. But she rose into the air and transformed into Yogmaya (who is Vishnu's helper) and warned Kansa about his death. Then, she disappeared. Krishna grew up in Gokul with his brother, Balram. He then returned to Mathura and killed Kansa with the help of Balram.
Celebrations of Krishna Janamashtami :
Janamashtami is celebrated all over India with great fervour and devotion. The main places where it is celebrated with great dedication are Mathura, Dwarka and Vrindavan.
Plays are organised wherein people enact scenes and events from Krishna's early life. Raasleela is famous on this day. Krishna was born in Vrindavan but later on he moved to Dwarka where majority part of his life was spent.
Devotees offer prayings to Lord Krishna on this day to seek blessings and happiness in life.
Janamashtami Puja :
Many devotees perform Puja at midnight itself. Some other devotees perform Puja in the morning or evening. In many places, people draw footsteps of Lord Krishna from the entrance of the house to the Puja room. These footsteps are drawn with rice flour paste and drawing these footsteps is a sign of welcoming Lord Krishna home. Women draw patterns of tiny footsteps like those of infant Krishna.
Temples prepare at least 108 different dishes on Janmashtami. If you have Radha-Krishna deities, get extra beautifull new clothes for them. Be creative and pay special attention to decorating their sacred altar. Recreate the temple program and hold an abhishekam bathing ceremony for your deities with yogurt, honey, ghee and bathe the deity with them while singing devotional songs.