The most loved god of Hindus-Lord Krishna's birth anniversary is the festival of Janmashtami. The temples of Vrindavan, where He was born, witness an extravagant and colourful celebration. On this occasion. Raslila is performed to recreate incidents from the life of Krishna and to commemorate his love for Radha. The idol of the infant Krishna is bathed at midnight and is placed in a cradle. Devotional songs and dances mark the celebration of this festive occasion all over Northern India
Lord Krishna was born in the DuaparYug which came just before the Kal Yug and Janamasthami, his birthday falls on the Ashtami Paksh or the 8th day of the new moon fortnight in the month of Bhadra some time in July or August. The Jhankis ( tableaux) depicting many significant scenes from Lord Krishna's life are the intrinsic part of Janmashtami. Devotees also make beautiful Jhulans (Cradles) for the baby Krishna. In some parts of India, young men break the Matkas (Earthen Pots) filled with butter and curd.
The most important tableux is that of baby Krishna. An idol of baby Krishna is placed on a cradle, which is rocked to recreate scenes from Krishna's infancy. The devotees believe that anyone who makes a wish while rocking the cradle in which the idol is placed, his / her wish comes true on this auspicious day. Other popular Jhankis are Kaaliya Mardan(vanquishing the black snake Kali Nag), Kansha vadha ( Killing Kansha) and lifting the Govardhan Parbhat.
In Brindavan, every year the Raasleelas or the folk theatre enacts Krishna's life incidents. This enactment begins much before the Janmashtami day. These Raasleelas are staged by professional drama troupes or even young children. These dramas are characterized by colorful costumes and equally colorful backgrounds. Raasleelas are usually accompanied by musicians and are very popular among the people. The language spoken by the actors and the actresses is the Braj-bhasha but some times Hindi dialect is also used.
For celebrating Janamashtami the ritual begins on the previous day with fasting ,prayer and celebration.
Women do not cook on this day,only cold food is served,which some modern thinkers believe is a way of commemorating the childhood of lord Krishna by spending time with children instead of in the kitchen.