The Festival of Janamashtami

The Festival of Janamashtami

Aarti Natarajan Sharma

The festival of Janmashtami is celebrated to mark the birth of Lord Krishna, one of the most popular Hindu gods. Janmashtami literally means ‘birth on the 8th day.’ The festival is celebrated on the 8th day of the dark fortnight in the month of Bahrapada, in August/September. The number eight also has another meaning since Lord Krishna was the 8th child of his parents. This festival is also called Krishna Janmashtami and Gokulashtami. 

In 2021, Janmashtami is on 30 August. 

Lord Krishna is considered to be an avatar of Lord Vishnu who was created to rid the earth of evil. It is believed that whenever there is a rise of unrighteousness, Lord Vishnu takes an avatar to bring back balance to the cosmos. 

The Story of Lord Krishna’s Birth

Lord Krishna was born to Devaki and Vasudev. It is believed that he was born to defeat Devaki’s brother, the evil king, Kansa. According to Hindu mythology, King Kansa was told that his own nephew would be the cause of his death. Hearing this, he ordered that all the children born to his sister Devaki should be killed as soon as they were born. When they were expecting their eighth child, Lord Vishnu appeared in front of them and told them that he would be taking the avatar of this child. The night the divine baby was born, Vasudeva found himself free from prison and snuck out with the baby. He went to Gokul and exchanged his son with a new born girl of cowherds Yashoda and Nanda. Kansa tried to kill it but the baby ascended to heaven, transforming into Goddess Yogamaya. Krishna grew up as the child of Yashoda and Nanda and slayed Kansa on his return to Mathura.

The Janmashtami Fast

Lord Krishna was born at midnight and devotees observe a strict fast during Janmashtami, which they break only at midnight. Mostly, only liquids and fruits are consumed during this fast. At midnight, prayer rituals are completed and then the fast is broken. In a lot of homes people make a cradle and place an idol of baby Krishna in it. This idol is worshipped with offerings of prayers, fruits, and sweets. 

Lord Krishna is often called the god of compassion and love. Worshipping him brings about great benefits to devotees. It is believed that praying to Lord Krishna brings about clarity of thought. 

What is Dahi Handi?

The custom of Dahi Handi is celebrated on the second day of Janmashtami. An earthen pot or handi filled with curd or butter is hung at a height. Groups of young men and women form a human pyramid to reach the handi and then break it. The significance of this custom can be traced to Lord Krishna’s fondness for butter and curd as a child, which often led him to steal these items from his mother’s kitchen. In fact, he is often called ‘maakhan chor.’ This led his mother to hide these items and put them out of his reach. The Dahi Handi custom is a way of recreating the fun and mischief of Lord Krishna’s childhood days. 

Janmashtami and Gifting

Janmashtami is an ideal time to send unique gifts to devotees of Lord Krishna as well as to friends. This day is also marked as one to celebrate and promote goodwill and togetherness, which was Lord Krishna’s universal message. What better occasion to send gifts? Let’s take a look at some gifting options.

Krishna Chalisa

This is a 40-verse prayer book in praise of Lord Krishna. It is believed that regular chanting of this chalisa relieves people from all ills and brings about peace and prosperity in their lives. This is available in a hardbound pocket edition with a luxurious looking design and printed on premium paper. The font is large, making it easy to read and is available in both Hindi and English. 

Stationery Sets

Gifting stationery is always a good option. The stationery sets consist of 

50 best wishes card with envelopes

50 thank you cards with envelopes

50 Shagun envelopes

50 A-4 size letterheads with envelopes

50 A-5 size letterheads with envelopes

These sets come in a variety of beautiful colours and are couched in a premium box with compartments for each of the items. The plush, matte look gives them a luxurious feel and are pleasing to the eye. There are refills available for each of the items, making it not just a useful but also a durable gift. The best part is that you can customise these with a name, adding a special dimension to the gift.