The festival of Janmashtami celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna on earth is one of the most important Hindu festivals and is celebrated with great gaiety and devotion. Observing the birth of one of the most revered Hindu gods, the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the festival of Janmashtami has been associated with innumerable customs and traditions. People observe fast without water on this day, which is broken at midnight, commemorating Krishna's birth at midnight. At Mathura, the birth place of lord Krishna special spiritual gatherings are organized, and devotees from all across the globe pour in on this special day to offer their prayers. A recital, singing session and plays are held portraying the story of Lord Krishna at temples all across the country and even abroad. At midnight, the Lord's birth hour, Lord Krishna is worshipped and is bathed in milk, while his Name is chanted 108 times by the devotees. Artis are performed and the idols and the temples are decorated with flowers and many sumptuous dishes in platters are offered to the lord.
Wide varieties of sweets offered to Nandala, which Krishna is also known as. As Lord Krishna was particularly fond of 'Makhan' or butter and was also known by the name 'Makhan Chor', butter is especially included in all the offerings. 'Dahi handi' is one of the popular rituals associated with Janmashtami which is an enactment of Krishna stealing butter in his childhood. Apart from these there are some unique customs associated with this festival, followed in certain regions of India. in south India women, using rice-flour paste draw patterns of little children`s feet outside their houses to welcome Krishna into their houses. On the day after Janmashtami “Nand Mahotsav” is celebrated in many regions of the country.
Krishna Janmashtami celebration involves various rituals and practices. This article tells us of the religious practices followed during the festival.