Krishna Janmashtami or popularly known as Janmashtami and Gokulashtami is one of the widely celebrated annual Hindu festivals. This day marks the birth of Lord Krishna who is believed to be the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. This year Janmashtami will be celebrated on the 24 August (Saturday).
Legend around the festival:
As per Hindu mythology, Mathura was under the rule of the evil King Kansa. His sister Devaki's eighth son was believed to cause the fall of Kansa. When Kansa learns about this prophecy he sends his sister and her husband Vasudeva in prison. One by one, he kills all the seven children who were born to the couple.
Knowing of the dangers that hovered over the life of their eighth child, Vasudeva with the help of gods takes the baby to Gokul and hands it over to foster parents " Yashoda and Nand " to keep him away from King Kansa. Vasudeva then returns to Mathura with a baby girl to present to Kansa, thinking he wouldn't kill her as the prophecy proclaimed of Kansa dying in the hands of his nephew. However, Kansa picks up the baby to throw her against a rock but instead of dying the baby rises up as she takes the form of Goddess Durga, and warns him about his death.
How is it celebrated?
Since then, this folklore is celebrated as the festival of Janmashtami by hindu devotees who fast, decorate temples and sing devotional songs of Krishna.
Hindu devotees keep fast for the whole day, decorate temples where the folklore of Krishna's birth is narrated. On this auspicious day, the idol of Krishna is also placed in a cradle and bathed with panchamrit-made of ghee, milk, gangajal, honey, and tulsi leaves which is then distributed as 'prasad' among devotees. Apart from the pujas, people also mark this day with participating Dahi handi festival and performing plays and dance performances based on the legend of Lord Krishna's birth.