How is Janmashtami Celebrated?
This is mainly a Hindu festival. But to be specific, one can say that for the Vaishnavism tradition of Hinduism, this is the most important festival. This celebration is mainly noticed in Mathura and Vrindavan of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh in Central or North India, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh from Southern India, West Bengal, Manipur, Assam, and Odisha, in Eastern India, and Rajasthan and Gujarat from the Western India.
Wherever there are Vaishnava temples, the countdown of Janmashtami enunciates before dawn and continues all through the day until midnight hours which is the exact moment of the birth of Lord Krishna.
Kirtan - the soulful devotional Lord Krishna songs are sung by group of singers is common in this festival. People fast all through this important time, i.e., from dawn till midnight. The Kirtan songs, dance, drama, praying, etc. keeps people engaged all through this fast session. A majority of Krishna temples consolidate a dance drama named "Raas-Lila" and recitation of Krishna dialogues from Bhagwad Gita. Both these generally start a few days before the Janmashtami day.
Devotees prepare garlands, bathes the idol of Krishna in fragrant water, read religious scriptures, etc. The bathing of Lord Krishna in various fragrant and auspicious water is called Abhishek. Finally when the clock strikes 12 at midnight, the priest of the temple draws the curtain off to show the newly dressed Lord Krishna idol decorated with variety of garlands.
Nanda celebrated the birth of Lord Krishna by distributing gifts to the whole community and this practice is still observed in the name of Nandotsav where rich people distribute required food and clothing to the whole community.
Sabudana Vada, Sabudana Pakoda, Sabudana Tikki, Roasted Makhana, Aloo Chaat, Fruit Chaat are some of the snacks prepared for the evening for guests and devotees. For the main meal, generally Sabudana Thalipeeth, Singhare ki poori, Dahi aloo, Samvat rice khichdi, raw banana kofta are prepared. And in dessert table, carrot halwa, basundi, apple kheer, coconut laddoos are prepared.