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Krishna Janmashtami

Authored by Alice Broome
Published on 6th September, 2023 2 min read

Krishna Janmashtami

A cartoon image of Lord Krishna with the words "Krishna Janmashtami"

Today (06/09/2023) marks the start of Krishna Janmashtami celebrations. Krishna Janmashtami is an annual Hindu festival that commemorates the birth of Lord Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Celebrations begin today and continue into tomorrow. The date of the festival changes yearly, but it usually occurs in August or September. It is celebrated on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the dark fortnight (Krishna Paksha).

The origins of the festival and the nature of the celebrations stem from the circumstances surrounding Lord Krishna's birth. King Kansa had been told by a priest that the eighth son of Krishna’s parents would be the cause of his death. His parents, Devaki and Vasudev, were subsequently imprisoned and Krishna (their eighth son) was born inside the Mathura prison. When Krishna was born, Vasudev escaped the prison and travelled to Vrindavan where he handed over Krishna to his foster parents, Yashoda and Nanda. Janmashtami is therefore of particular importance to Mathura and Vrindavan. Grand celebrations occur in these cities. Indeed, Janmashtami is the largest festival in the Braj region of north India.

The nature of the celebrations vary, but they often include reading/reciting religious texts, dancing, singing until midnight, decorating temples and shrines, and reenactments of Krishna’s life. The day before the festival, some Hindus fast until midnight and then bathe the image of Krishna in water and milk before worshipping him. Midnight is of particular significance as this is regarded as the hour of his birth.

British Online Archives wishes all those celebrating a very happy Krishna Janmashtami.

Authored by Alice Broome

Alice Broome

Alice Broome is an Editorial Assistant at British Online Archives. She is a Philosophy, Politics, and Economics graduate from the University of York.

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The British Online Archives Notable Days diary is a platform intended to mark key dates and events throughout the year. The posts draw attention to historical events and figures, as well as recurring cultural traditions and international awareness days, in both religious and secular contexts.

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