Janmashtami is an annual religious holiday that observed mostly by Hindus and solemnizes the glorious day of Krishna’s birth. Krishna is one of the main Hindu divinities which sometimes considered an avatar of the almighty Lord Vishnu, who forms the Trimurti alongside with Brahma and Shiva. Krishna is also treated as discrete deity, the god of all good things, such as Beauty, Intelligence and Love. It’s no surprise that he is the most prominent and beloved of all Hindu divinities.
Thereby, there is a day, when all his worshippers worldwide unite and rejoice together, praising his name. This day is usually called by several different names, such as Krishnashtami, Saatam Aatham and Krishna Janmashtami.
As Hindu religion gains more and more worshippers with every new day, it’s important to know about its traditions and respect them, even if you are not one of Hindus yourself. Especially it’s like this in a century of global communications and tolerance.
So, when is Janmashtami in 2017? Just like with many other various religious holidays, the exact day isn’t set according to familiar to most of us Gregorian calendar. As you would expect, this Hindu holiday date depends on Hindu calendar. Usually, it takes place on the eighth day of dark fortnight of Sharavana, the day that is also called Ashtami in Hindu traditions. In a nutshell, this year it will be celebrated on the seventeenth of January.
Hindu religion is interesting not only for its worshippers, but also for everyone else, even atheists, due to deep philosophy and enthralling mythology. One of main aspects of this religion is life of Krishna, the embodiment of God himself.
He came to world in 3112 BCE (by Earth time) in the Yadava clan in family of Devaki and Vasudeva. There was a prophecy about eighth son of Devaki killing her brother, Kansa, so Kansa brought a lot of destruction and attempted to kill Krishna by sending assassins.
Krishna was able to face and defeat Trinavatra, the demon of tornado. He also managed to kill Putana, another demon, who pretended to be a wet nurse and tried to poison Krishna by feeding him with poisonous breast. These two were not only demons, defeated by almighty Krishna, but there is no reason to bring a long list of his victories in article like this.
Few years later grown up Krishna returned from his journey to finally kill Kansa. He made his father king again and took role of prince. Soon, the events of Bhagavad-Gita started to unravel. You are strongly advised to read this sacred book, as it’s not just some religious text, but also masterpiece in literature.
How this day is being celebrated
The celebration of this sacred day slightly varies depending on locality. Obviously, this day is mostly observed in India and neighboring countries, such as Nepal and Bangladesh. In some of those countries Janmashtami even considered a national holiday, which leads to vast feasting with singing, praying and wide list of other social activities.
Once again, just as reminder, what day Janmashtami in 2017? This time it will occur on January, 17th. As nationality is of no importance, you can attend to celebration in any country, no matter how far from India factually or spiritually. You can even celebrate it at home by inviting your friends, decorating your house and singing songs and chanting mantras together. Also, you are recommended to have arati during midnight. That name stands for ceremony of worshipping and admiring Krishna.
One of the most important and significant features of Saatam Aatham in India is Mahashatra, also known by the name of Dahi Handi. It’s a tradition of breaking the pot of buttermilk, which originates from a legend of young Krishna stealing butter. Those who participate in it are called Govindas, in honor of Krishna himself.
The concept is pretty simple. Different groups of participants (mandals) are competing with each other, trying to break as many pots as they can. These pots are being placed at serious height, which means that Govindas need to build so-called “human pillars” or “human towers” to reach them. There are various prizes for that, but mostly money. In poor countries like India this is great motivation and very lucky opportunity.
Let’s take a little break to remark an outstanding fact. Janmashtami is more celebrated worldwide than Christmas and New Year! So, the question of when is Janmashtami 2017 is vastly important.
Celebration in different regions
As was already stated previously, traditions and rules of Janmashtami celebration depend on locality, so in different countries there are different features. Some of them can be pretty interesting to review. Thus, let’s take a look at them.
First of all, if you asking yourself such questions as what is the date of Janmashtami 2017 in different countries, then you probably need to know that the date is same in every country across the globe, from Russia to United States of America, from Ireland to Australia etc. Basically, even if there only a couple of hundreds Hindus in your country, they can feast on this day.
Now then, let’s look at celebration in Bangladesh. There, Krishnashtami is national holiday, so celebration spans across whole country. It has its very own history, as its main event – procession from main temple of Bangladesh – had its ups and downs during last century. It’s related to attacks of Islamic terrorists. It’s scary to think about such horrible acts in our days of personal freedom, but we all know, that sadly they can happen even nowadays. That’s why we must respect and protect any peaceful confessions.
Some countries are practicing fasting on this day, for example India and Nepal. Giving offerings to Krishna is another common tradition. And, of course, praising the almighty Krishna by joint ritual singing. Nepal, as a country where more than eighty percents of population identify themselves as Hindus, is clearly the leader in those activities. There, people gather in decorated temples and chant holy poems and songs from Bhagavad Gita.
If you want to attend to those, you need to check such thing as when is Janmashtami in 2017, and then mark it in your calendar. And when this glorious jolly day comes, you better be ready and have fun.