Janmashtami Puja: Janmashtami is celebrated across different parts of India and the world, with fun and fervor. The festival honors the birth of Lord Krishna, who was born on the eighth day of Sravana month, which corresponds to August-September as per the Gregorian calendar. Lord Krishna, an avatar of Lord Vishnu, was born in the Dwaparyug with an aim to kill the demon King Kansa and restore harmony and peace in the world. The deity is one of the favorites of Hindus. Lord Krishna is personified as a friend, a guide, a lover or as a child, by his devotee. Janmashtami is an important day for the devotees of Lord Krishna, as the festival celebrates his birth.
The merrymaking is marked by colorful cultural programs and puja. Special pujas are conducted in many Lord Krishna temples of India, as well as homes, as a part of the celebrations. The pooja is done to invoke Lord Krishna and seek his blessings, on the wonderful festival of Janmashtami. While the main puja, including aarti, is conducted in the midnight of the festival, people also organize puja during the daytime, wherein mantras of Lord Krishna are chanted, bhajans and songs are sung. In the following lines, we have given information on the pooja of Krishna Janmashtami.
Janmashtami puja is done using the items that are required especially for the festival. It is believed that each puja item has a significance. This is primarily because of the fact that in order to worship the deity in a traditional way, all the puja items are required. Therefore, nothing should be missed out from the list of puja items for Janmashtami. Some of the very important puja items for Krishna Janmashtami include a puja thali, bell, diya (earthen lamp), rice, cardamom, betel nuts (pan supari), beetle leaves, roli, small container (lota) filled with Gangajal, honey, vermilion (sindoor), incense sticks, flowers and clarified butter (ghee). Apart from this, one also requires new clothes and jewelry for the deity as well as a small cradle. The items needed to make the Panchamrit include Gangajal, honey, ghee, milk and yogurt.
Special puja is conducted at Lord Krishna temples on Janmashtami. The puja for the festival usually begins early in the morning, when a sacred bath is given to the idol of baby Krishna, using the holy water of Hindus – Ganga jal (water collected from River Ganga). After bathing, the idol is adorned with new clothes (that are decked with precious stone) that are made especially for embellishing it on the auspicious occasion. Yellow, orange and red may be the color of the clothes. Thereafter, the idol is clad with jewelry. The holy place is illuminated with diyas, while the devotees chant mantras and sing bhajans, praising Lord Krishna. Next, the idol is swung in a cradle, during which conches are blown. When the entire pooja is over, the devotees break their fast by having ‘panchamrit‘. Thereafter, the prasad is distributed among the devotees.