Janmashtami Festival in 2019

National and Public Holidays in India Regional Holiday celebrated across India

Janmashtami is a Hindu festival and a Gazetted holiday in many regions of India
Copyright: muralinathypr / 123RF Stock Photo

When is Janmashtami?

How long until Janmashtami?
This holiday next takes place in 91 Days.
Dates of Janmashtami
Year Weekday Date
2020 Tuesday
2019 Friday
2018 Monday
2018 Sunday
2017 Tuesday
1 Day
The birthday of Lord Krishna, the reincarnation of Lord Vishnu who gave the message of the Bhagwat Gita

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.

Indian regions observing Janmashtami in 2018

On 2 September 2018, Janmashtami is a public holiday in Kerala, Odisha and Tamil Nadu.

On 3 September 2018, Janmashtami is a public holiday in Assam, Bihar, Chandigarah, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand.

History and Background of Janmashtami

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.

  • In Tamil Nadu, oiled poles with pots of money tied to the top are set up. Boys dressed as Krishna then try to climb these poles to get the money while onlookers squirt water at them.
  • In Maharashtra, where the festival is known as Govinda, pots containing buttermilk are suspended high over streets. Teams of boys then form human pyramids competing against each other to see who can break the most pots.


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.

Janmashtami around the world


A national holiday in Bangladesh, Janmashtami is a special festival for the people living there.

Since 1902, a religious procession is taken out from Dhakeshwari National Temple located at the capital city of Dhaka, which passes through Old Dhaka streets. The procession was suspended in 1948 after India-Pakistan partition. The ceremony resumed in 1989.


Though not a public holiday, in Fiji, the festival is called as 'Krishna Ashtami' and the celebrations last for eight days culminating on Lord Krishna's birtthday. During those eight days, Hindus in Fiji gather at Temples or at their homes with devotional groups and celebrate by singing songs, dancing, reciting prayers and distributing the Prasadam.

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