Krishna Jayanthi or Janmastami marks the birth of Lord Krishna, considered in Hinduism as the 9th incarnation of Lord, while some sects within Hinduism consider him as Svyam Bhagvan or The Lord Himself. He was born in a prison cell to Devaki and Vasudeva of the Yadava clan, and was moved immediately & secretly to Vrindavan. There are a lot of stories around Lord Krishna’s mischievous childhood that portrays him as Makhan Chor (Butter thief), the protector of Vrindavan (by lifting the Govardan Hill and protecting the villagers from the angst of Lord Indira), Kalinga Nardanam (danced on the head of a poisonous serpent Kalinga and tamed the serpent) and lover of the Gopis (milkmaids) in Vrindavan.
Unlike the Ramavatar where the Lord never reveals himself until the end, Krishnavatar is strewn with instances where the Lord pronounces His arrival, the pinnacle of which is the Bhagavad Gita discourse, where Lord Krishna elaborates on the various Yogic and Vedantic philosophies. In the Kurukshetra war of the Mahabharata, Lord Krishna was the charioteer of Arjuna, a Pandava prince. Arjuna, upon seeing his cousins and uncles in the battlefield, is dis-heartened and refuses to fight and the ensuing conversation between Arjuna and Krishna is the famous Bhagavad Gita.
There are innumerable slokas and kirtans set in praise of Lord Krishna and one of them is the famous Krishnastakam, a eight-part sloka on Lord Krishna sung by Adi Sankara that explains beautifully the virtues and life of Lord Krishna.
On this day, Lord Krishna is offered his favorite dishes as well as butter & curd (Indian yogurt) as prasadam.