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Why is Sri Krishna Jayanti celebrated on two different days?

Sri Krishna Jayanti or Sri Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated on two different days in year. In simple words, Lord Krishna has two birthdays. In 2024, Sri Krishna Jayanti or Sri Krishna Janmashtami is on August 26 and August 26. The birthday of Sri Krishna on August 27 is also referred occasionally as Vaishnava Sri Krishna Jayanti. Many Hindu sects in South, West and East India will be celebrating Sri Krishna Jayanti on August 26. Most of North on August 27

In Kerala and in coastal Karnataka (Udupi), the festival will be on August 26, 2024 this is because the Rohini Nakshatra in Chinga Masam is taken for festival here. Chingam month begins only on August 17. So in certain years the festival will be observed in Kerala in September on a different date

  • West, South and East will observe Janmashtami a day earlier than North India.
  • In some years, all regions will observe it on the same day.
  • Kerala will observe Janmashtami on an entirely different date once in two years. 
  • South and Coastal Karnataka also observes Janmashtami (Udupi Temple) on an entirely different date once in two years.
  • Dahi Handi in Maharashtra is always observed a day after Janmashtami in Maharashtra.
According to traditional Hindu astrology, Lord Krishna was born when the moon entered the house of Vrishabha (Taurus) at the Rohini Nakshatra (star) on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the second fortnight of the month of Shravana (this corresponds to the month of Bhadrapada Krishna Paksha in North India). All these conditions have to match to celebrate Sri Krishna Jayanti but most of the time these conditions never match in the calendars of various Hindu sects.

So the different sections in Hinduism have adopted their own standards for celebrating the birthday of Lord Krishna. For some sect, it is the ‘ashtami’ day that is important. For some sect, it is the star ‘rohini.’ To make it more complex there is the lunar and solar calendar issue.

The two different dates is because importance is given to Tithi – Krishna Paksha Ashtami Tithi in certain regions. Like in Maharashtra, Bengal and by some communities in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

In North India, the date that has Krishna Paksha Ashtami and Moon sign Vrishabha (Taurus) is given importance.

In Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the date that has Krishna Paksha Ashtami and Rohini Nakshatra is given importance but this date has to be in Tamil Aavani Month and Malayalam Chingam Month.

(Confused!!! Krishna will be smiling at his birthday celebrations, all these calendars and confusion created by it. Krishna in Bhagavad Gita asks to rise above time, birth and death.)

Don’t mistake that this two different day celebrations are the result of difference of opinion among different sects in Hinduism. We feel a glitch because we think in terms of Hinduism, Hindu and India but not in terms of ‘Sanatana Dharma.’

The term ‘Hindu’ was first uttered two thousand years ago and origin of Sri Krishna Jayanti celebrations can traced back to thousands of years before that utterance. There were numerous regional traditions recognizing Sanatana Dharma in Bharath (India) before the coinage of the term ‘Hindu.’ These regional traditions had their own calendars and methods of celebrations.

The modern concept of Hinduism gained popularity with the arrival of European powers to India but the Vedic tradition is inherently diverse and it recognizes the different ways of celebrations.