Janmashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna is celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm in India in the month of July or August. Janmastami is also called Krishana Janmastami.
The actual celebration of Janmashtami takes place during the midnight as Sri Krishna is believed to be borned on a dark, stormy and windy night to end the rule and violence of his uncle, Kansa. This day is celebrated with devotional songs and dances, pujas, arti, blowing of the Conch and rocking the cradle of baby Sri Krishna. Janamashtami is celebrated on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) of the month of Shravana (August–September).
Krishna Janmashtami is followed by the festival Nandotsav, which celebrates the occasion when Nanda Baba distributed gifts to the community in honour of the birth. Indian people celebrate this festival by fasting and staying up until midnight, the time when Krishna is believed to have been born. Picture of Krishna’s infancy are placed in swings and cradles in temples and homes.
Krishna’s birthplace Mathura and Vrindavan celebrate this festival with great show. Raslilas is performed to recreate incidents from the life of Krishna and to commemorate his love for Radha.
On this day, homes and temples are decorated beautifully. Singing and dancing is marked as the celebration of this festival. At midnight, the image of infant Krishna is bathed and laid in a cradle, which is rocked, amidst the ringing of bells.
In Maharashtra, people enact the Krishna’s childhood attempts to steal butter and curd from earthen pots. A similar earthen pot is suspended high above the ground and groups of people form pyramids and try to break the pot. The Dwarka in Gujarat which is Krishna’s own land witnesses hordes of visitors gathering here for celebrations.