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Krishna Janmasthami is better known as Janmasthami a Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna, the 8th avatar of Lord Vishnu. Janmasthami is observed on the eighth day of the Krishna Paksha in Shraavana or Bhadrapad and overlaps with the Gregorian calendar of August or September according to the Hindu lunisolar calendar.
Krishna Janmasthami is a very significant festival, especially to the followers of Vaishnavism, a sect in Hinduism. A portion of the Janmashtami festivities is dance-drama enactments of Krishna's life as per the writings of Bhagavata Purana (such as Rasa Lila or Krishna Lila). This is followed by a devotional chanting through midnight when Krishna was born, fasting a night vigil (Ratri Jagaran), and a festival the next day.
Krishna is the son of Devaki, and Vasudeva Anakadundubhi and Hindus celebrate his birthday as Janmashtami, particularly those of the tradition of Gaudiya Vaishnavism as he is considered the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Janmashtami is observed as it is assumed that Krishna was born according to the Hindu custom that is in Mathura at midnight on the eighth day of the month of Bhadrapada (overlaps in the Gregorian calendar of August and September 3).
Krishna was born during an era of chaos. It was a time when injustice was rife, and rights were withheld, darkness was everywhere, and his uncle King Kansa threatened his life.
Immediately after Krishna's birth in Mathura, his father, Vasudeva Anakadundubhi, takes Krishna across the Yamuna to his new foster parents in Gokul, named Nanda and Yashoda.
On Janmashtami, this tradition is celebrated by people who keep fast, sing devotional songs of love for Krishna and hold a vigil through the night.
After the birth of Krishna in the midnight hour, baby Krishna statues are washed and dressed and then set in a cradle. The devotees then break their fast, exchanging sweets and food.
Women draw tiny footsteps outside the doors and kitchen of their house, heading into their family, a sign of Krishna's journey into their home.
The Hindus celebrate Janmashtami by fasting, singing, praying, cooking and exchanging special meals, night watching, and visiting the temples of Krishna or Vishnu.
Significant temples of Krishna are conducting recitation of "Bhagavata Purana and Bhagavad Gita".Many societies hold Rasa Lila or Krishna Lila dance-drama activities.
Numerous teams of amateur artists perform on it, encouraged on by their local audiences and these plays of drama-dance begin a few days before each Janmashtami.
The celebration of the birth of Lord Krishna is different in different parts of the world. It is a significant festival in the South-Asian countries where the primary religion is Hinduism.
Around eighty per cent of Nepal's population identify as Hindus and celebrate Krishna Janmashtami. Through fasting, they follow Janmashtami until midnight.
The devotees are reciting the Bhagavad Gita and performing holy songs called kirtans and bhajans. Krishna's temples are wrapped in decoration. Shops, banners, and houses have Krishna motifs in them.
Janmasthami is popular in India as Gokulasthami and is celebrated in major cities like Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Dwarka, and Mathura. The festival is followed by Dahi Handi, a tradition where a pot of yoghurt is hanged from a pole, and people form a human pyramid to break these hanging yoghurt pots.
In the Indian states of Odisha and West Bengal, the festival is observed as Sri Krishna Jayanti or Sri Jayanti.
Janmashtami is celebrated in the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Karachi by the Pakistani Hindus with the singing of bhajans and the presentation of sermons on Krishna.
Janmashtami is a national holiday in Bangladesh. On Janmashtami, a procession begins at Dhakeshwari Temple in Dhaka, the Bangladesh National Shrine, and then continues along Old Dhaka avenues.
The tradition dates from 1902 but was halted in 1948. In 1989 the procession resumed.
At least one-quarter of Fiji's population follows Hinduism and this holiday has been observed in Fiji since the first indentured Indian labourers arrived there.
In Fiji, Janmashtami is named "Krishna Ashtami."Most Hindus in Fiji have ancestors who come from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Tamil Nadu, rendering this a festival of specific significance to them.
The Janmashtami festivities of Fiji are unique in that they continue for eight days, extending to the eighth day, the day of the birth of Krishna.
During these eight days, Hindus assemble with their 'mandalis' at homes and temples, or evening and night devotional parties, and recite the Bhagavat Purana, sing devotional songs for Krishna and give Prasadam to others.
Governor Janet Napolitano became the first American official to salute a post on Janmashtami in Arizona, United States while recognizing ISKCON.
In the countries like Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and the former British colony Fiji, as well as the former Dutch colony of Suriname, the festival is still commonly observed by Hindus in the Caribbean.
Many Hindus in these countries come from Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar; Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Bengal and Orissa descendants of indentured immigrants.
ISKCON temples worldwide commemorate Krishna Janmashtami and ISKCON founder Swami Prabhupada's birthday (September 1, 1896).