The Sanskrit words “janma” and “ashta” translate to “birth” and “eight,” respectively. The ISKCON celebration of Janmashtami is marked by animated ceremonies, lavish decor, and offerings of pious prayers. People from all over the world participate in the pious celebration of the festival with great zeal & enthusiasm.
The entire country cherishes the day of Lord Krishna’s appearance. The sight of children adorned as little Krishnas, bustling markets with ornate handis and sweet shops, the preparation of plays (Leelas), and glorious temples adorned with flowers create an atmosphere of fervour and devotion. Recitations from the Holy Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavata Purana reverberate within temples, underscoring the spiritual significance of this day.
Let’s look at how the Janmashtami 2023 celebrations will take place.
- Start with Fasting at Dawn
A defining aspect of Janmashtami is fasting. The followers are to avoid eating grains and cereals all day long. The ones that are observing a fast on Janmashtami are to only consume milk, water, and fruit in their meal time. People who can observe a strict fast often opt not to eat anything during a “Nirjala” fast, wherein you don’t eat or drink anything throughout the day. When the fast ends at midnight and the rituals are done, devotees should not drink water throughout the day. However, most devotees choose to follow a simple diet plan wherein they consume limited food, barring heavy food items. We must remember that fasting on Janmashtami is not a mere abstention from food; it signifies a symbolic purification of the heart, creating a space within for Krishna’s divine presence.
- Participate in Kirtanas and Krishna Mantra Chanting
Participate in collective chanting of devotional songs or bhajans. Another important part of Janmashtami celebrations in most temples is singing Kirtan or songs of Krishna glorification or praise. Musical chanting or songs that praise Lord Krishna are sung in a group with other devotees. The Hare Krishna mantra is one pious chant that you could chant to celebrate Krishna Janmashtami. Participating in a group kirtan is an effective approach to harnessing a sense of belongingness among those around you and is an important part of Janmashtami celebrations in many temples.
- Decorating The Temple With Flowers
Prepare flower garlands and other temple decorations before Janamashtami celebrations. The temple is adorned elegantly on the day of Janmashtami to welcome Lord Krishna and create a stunning atmosphere that transcends the entire event. Participate in the event’s religious and celebratory aspects by planning ahead and decorating the temple with your loved ones. The most commonly used Janmashtami decorations include flower garlands, but Hindu temples often use leaves and balloons for decoration as well. If you do not attend temple services on a regular basis, you might want to enquire about the schedule, as the temples are flooded with devotees.
- Dressing Up Your Children as Lord Krishna
Kids dress up like Lord Krishna during Janmashtami celebrations all over India and visit friends and family while carrying out the riveted tradition. Children dressing in Krishna costumes is a popular highlight of the festival. Make Janmashtami celebrations more joyous for the little ones by dressing them up in dhotis, lehengas as Radha, or even crowns and other accessories.
The colour Yellow is the most used in traditional Krishna Janmashtami celebrations in clothes, decorations, and jewellery. A waistband, an armlet, some light jewellery, and a peacock feather for Lord Krishna’s crown can get your kid’s clothing set for the celebration.
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- Observe the Live Feed or Visit the Temple for the Janmashtami Temple Services
At midnight, watch Lord Krishna’s deity being unveiled. At midnight, priests open the drapes that usually conceal Krishna’s deity to display the freshly dressed and bathed God on His elaborate altar. The unveiling takes place at midnight because the scriptures tell us that this is the time when Lord Krishna appeared. Make sure to attend this unveiling and participate in the Kirtan that follows.
For those who cannot physically attend the festival, several temples worldwide will stream it online. If you or your visitors are willing, tune in to these broadcasts and participate in the songs and chants being performed.
The songs that are sung often originate from the Vaishnava songbook, though if you don’t know the words or don’t feel like singing, you can listen to others sing.
- Participate in Any Local Celebrations or Festivities
Participating in a community festival or parade is another fantastic way to commemorate Janmashtami if you cannot visit a temple. Find out whether any celebrations are planned for the occasion in your city or the surrounding area, and think about taking your family along.
These celebrations frequently feature marketplaces selling sweets and decorations and people acting out re-enactments similar to those you might see at a temple.
The Janmashtami events are also fantastic opportunities to dress your kids as Krishna and enjoy the compliments they receive for their attire!
- Bath and Cloth, Your Lord Krishna Deity
Together with other worshippers, bathe and dress Lord Krishna’s deity. Another significant part of Janmashtami, observed in many temples, is washing the Krishna deity and giving it new clothing. If you cannot assist in decorating the temple or reading from sacred texts, take part in this cleaning and dressing process.
This washing ritual, known as the abhisheka, involves bathing the deity in various pleasant liquids, such as milk, honey, or scented water. Although there is no particular fabric you must select, Krishna deities’ clothing should be full of colours and embellishments.
- As an Offering, You Can Bring Food to the Temple
Bring food as an offering to the temple. Devotees break their fast by exchanging snacks and meals with one another and forgoing some food as a religious offering after the revelation of the deity of Krishna at midnight. To participate in this significant Janmashtami celebration finale, bring refreshments and food to the temple as a tradition of Janmashtami. Singhare ki poori, Sabudana Thalipeeth, Dahi aloo, and Samvat rice khichdi are a few options of traditional dishes used as the major meal eaten during Janmashtami. Snacks to bring include Sabudana Tikki, Roasted Makhana, Aloo Chaat, and Fruit Chaat.
- Hold a Ceremony to Worship Lord Krishna
Hold a midnight worship service. The ceremony to honour Krishna and welcome Him into your home should finally be held at midnight. If you have them, ceremonial props like blowing shankha and lighting incense can be used, as well as a kirtan, a song of devotion, glorification, or praise.
Remember that you don’t necessarily require ceremonial accoutrements to conduct a worship ceremony well. The most important thing is to give Krishna whatever you can out of love and devotion.
What are the Famous Traditions of Janmashtami 2023
We also need to learn how to celebrate Janmashtami at home, and there are multiple ways to celebrate the festival at home. A well-known custom involves shattering milk, curd, or buttermilk pots on a tall pole. People construct a human pyramid to get to the pot and break it. This ritual resembles Krishna and His associates smashing the pot of freshly churned butter that His mother had hung. It is a well-known custom in Maharashtra and other western regions. Rasa Lila (Krishna Lila), a dance-drama portrayal of the lives of Lord Krishna and the gopis, is organized in certain states, including Manipur, Assam, Rajasthan, and Gujarat. The various rituals will capture the essence of Krishna Janmashtami 2023.
Keep reading the blogs for more information about Lord Krishna. Hare Krishna!