Janmashtami 2022: 8 Surprising Facts About The Beloved Hindu Festival
Krishna Janmashtami, or quite simply, Janmashtami, is the celebration of the birth of Lord Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. According to the Hindu calendar, it is celebrated on the eighth tithi of Krishna Paksha during the Bhadrapada Masa. This happens to overlap primarily with the month of August in the Gregorian calendar.
Janmashtami in 2022 happens to fall on August 18 and 19.
Janmashtami is an important Hindu festival, and even more so in the Vaishnavism sect of the religion. Here are some facts about Janmashtami 2022 to help elevate the celebratory mood.
• In India, religious frenzy can be seen at North Indian city of Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, where Krishna was born, and Gokul, 15 km south-east of Mathura, where the Lord was brought up. There are reportedly over 400 temples in Mathura dedicated to Nandgopal. There are celebrations galore at Mathura’s twin city Vrindavan as well, as well as Shree Dwarkadhish temple in Gujarat.
• Janmashtami is also celebrated abroad, in countries like Singapore, Canada, Malaysia, Nepal, Lonodon, etc. Hindus in Pakistan celebrate Janmashtami with a lot of fervor as well.
• The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), a prominent organisation devoted to Lord Krishna, was founded in New York City. Today, there are more than 150 temples maintained by ISKCON in India. Mayapur in West Bengal serves as its headquarters. In London, the festivity continues for two days. Over 60,000 people attend the Janmashtami celebrations at Bhaktivedanta Manor, the UK headquarters of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).
• Janmashtami is a National Holiday in Bangladesh. Since 1902, a religious procession is taken out from Dhakeshwari National Temple located at the capital city of Dhaka, which passes through Old Dhaka streets. The procession was suspended in 1948 after India-Pakistan partition. The ceremony resumed in 1989.
• Janmashtami is celebrated across the country with many local variations. People in Tamil Nadu draw beautiful and elaborated patterns called Kolam, made with rice batter on the entrances of their houses and tiny footprints of little Krishna entering their houses. In the western state of Maharashtra, the major attraction of the festival is ‘dahi-handi’ (breaking of a pot full of curd hung in the air by a human pryamid)
• In Eastern states of Odisha, especially in Puri, and West Bengal, especially in Mayapur and Nabadwip, devotees observe the day by fasting till midnight (till the birth time of Krishna), worshiping the Lord, reciting verses from the Bhagavad Gita (Krishna’s battlefield discussion with Arjuna during the war of Mahabharata), singing devotional songs and chanting of “Hare Krishna” and “Hari Bol”.
• The very famous ritual that is held across the country on the event of Janmashtami, Dahi handi, is inspired by Lord Krishna’s notorious acts of stealing makhan from houses. The makhan was initially stored on a height inside an earthen pot and so, Lord Krishna would climb on his friends and break the pot with a stone to eat the makhan inside it. To make the Lord happy makhan mishri is still served as the most popular prasad for Janmashtami.
• On the midnight of Janmashtami, Lord Krishna is given a bath with milk, ghee and water which is further consumed as prasad, this process is known as “abhishek” and is performed across temples and homes to please God.