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When is Janmashtami?
Janmashtami is a Hindu festival and a Gazetted holiday in many regions of India. It may be known as Sreekrishna Jayanthi in some regions. According to the Hindu calendar, Janmashtami is celebrated on the Ashtami (eighth day) of Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) in the month of Shravana or Bhadra (in the Hindu calendar, there is a leap month once every three years).
Janmashtami is also a public holiday in Bangladesh.
On 14 August 2017, Janmashtami is a public holiday in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chandigarah, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Nagaland Odisha, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand.
On 15 August 2017, Janmashtami is a public holiday in Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh.
One of the most important Hindu festivals, Janmashtami (Krishna Jayanti) is the birthday of Lord Krishna, the eighth re-incarnation of Lord Vishnu who gave the vital message of the Bhagwat Gita - the guiding principles for every Hindu.
Across India there will be ceremonies and prayers at temples dedicated to Krishna. The day before may consist of fasting and prayer up to midnight, the time at which it was said that Krishna was born.
According to tradition, Krishna was born in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. In this region, a common custom is the performance of Krishna Lila, a folk drama consisting of scenes from Krishna's life.
Many customs have developed in the different parts of India, all based on stories from Krishna's life. For instance, it is said that as a boy, Krishna loved butter and milk so much that they had to be kept out of his reach. This story is reflected in many climbing games for children.
Many colourful legends tell of Krishna's life and he is a prominent figure in Hindu writings.
As a child he is noted for his pranks such as the aforementioned butter stealing and images of him as a child often show him dancing joyously and holding a ball of butter in his hands..
As a adult, he is most commonly depicted as a dancer or a lover, often playing the flute and surrounded by adoring women. In one story, it is said that defeated the many headed serpent Kaliya by dancing it into submission.