Janamashtami/Krishna Jayanti
Krishna embracing
the cows
B G Sharma

To most Hindus, Krishna is an avatar of the great god Vishnu. He was born on the 8th day of the Hindu month of Shravan; the festival marking his birth, Janamashtami (janam, ‘birth’, ashtami, ‘eighth’) is observed with fasts, prayers and enactments of incidents from his childhood.

The festival typically lasts for two days, and during this time believers abandon sleep for the singing of bhagans. Food is prepared from milk and curds—said to be the young Krishna’s favourite—and in the temple images of the god are bathed and placed in cradles. It is traditionally believed that he was born at midnight, a moment welcomed with the blowing of conches and the ringing of bells.

For more, see Avatar of joy.