Janmashtami is one of the most sacred and popular festivals celebrated by Hindus. This day is commemorated as the birthday of Lord Krishna. On this day, people clean their houses, decorate the place of worship, and make rangoli at the entrance.
As it is believed that Lord Krishna was born in the mid-night, this is why Janmashtami is celebrated during the whole night. This year, it is being observed on 14th August, on Monday. The best time to start puja is 11.58 PM in the midnight and to end is 12.43 AM.
Fasting or Vrat is an important Vedic tradition, which is followed by Hindus since ancient times. It is believed that observing fast on Janmashtami is very auspicious and gives boons of fasting on 10 Ekadashis.
According to scriptures, when a devotee observes fast with true dedication, he achieves health, wealth and prosperity. It is also believed that this fast has a salutary and spiritual effect on all the people observing this fast. Not only this, Janmashtami fast brings the soul of a devotee closer to the Supreme Being, and he achieves salvation (freedom from the cycle of life and death).
According to Hindu rituals, fasting is of two types – nirjal vrat and phalahar vrat. During Nirjal vrat, the devotee does not take any type of food, not even water for the entire day. And, in the phalahar vrat, the devotees are allowed to take water, fruits and milk during the day. During Janmashtami, people generally follow Phalahar Vrat.
During the fast, there are certain rituals, which should be maintained and certain ethics, which should be followed. It is believed that these rules and rituals ensure that you get the deserved boons of the benefits. The procedure of this fast includes:
• Wake up early in the morning. Take bath and wear clean and fresh clothes. Take a vow for keeping the fast.
• Clean your worship area and offer milk, honey, yoghurt, ghee and sugar to the Lord Krishna idol. After this, decorate this idol with new clothes and jewellery.
• Perform puja with complete rituals and in the end, perform Aarti. Also, offer panchamrit (a liquid made by adding curd, ghee, basil leaves, honey and sugar to water). As butter was favourite of Lord Krishna, people distribute it among other devotees.
• Sing bhajans dedicated to Lord Krishna and chant mantras.
• The devotees should not consume grains, pulses, peas and beans during the Janmashtami fast.
• It is advisable to start the day by worshipping the picture or idol of Lord Krishna.
• If possible, pay a visit to a nearby temple of Lord Krishna.