Janmashtami commemorates the birth of Lord Sri Krishna, one of the most popular Hindu God also known as ‘Makhanchor’ and ‘Kanha’. Lord Krishna was born to King Vasudev and Mata Devki in the prison of Kansa, a demon king on a dark, stormy and windy night when moon entered the house of Vrishabha in the 'Rohini' nakshatram (star) to end the rule of ‘adharma’ (unreligious forces) and establish peace, prosperity and religion on the earth. His preaching in Bhagvad Geeta, the holy text of Hindu religion is still a guiding light for the followers of the religion.
Thus as per the birth of Lord Krishna, Janmashtmi is celebrated on the eighth day of the second fortnight, in the month of Sravana every year. According to Barhapatyamana, the month of Sravana corresponds to the month of Bhadrapada Krishnapaksha and the month of Mid-August to Mid-September in the Gregorian calendar. According to estimation by some historians, Lord was born in the year of Visvavasu, appx. 5,227 years ago.
Now the birth festival of Lord Krishna is celebrated for over two days as ‘Rohini Nakshatra’ and ‘Ashtami’ may not fall on the same day. So the first day of the celebration is named as Krishnashtami and the the second day is known as Kalashtami. The day of Krishnashtami falls on the eighth day after Raksha Bandhan, generally in the month of August.
The celebrations of Janmashtmi takes place only at the midnight of Krishnashtami as the birth Sri Krishna took place on the conjunction point of both the days. Lot of hymns, arti, bhajans takes place and the rocking the cradle of Lord is done as a sign of his arrival. His idol is then bathed with milk, ghee, honey and Gangajal. He is also offered ‘bhog’ i.e. all the scrumptious ‘satvik’ (pure) food item that have been prepared by devotees all day long. Later all this is distributed amongst the devotees as ‘prasada’. It is the time when devotees open their fast by consuming the holy prasada.
Janmashtami 2012 - 10 August.