Actually, the celebrations for Krishna Jayanthi starts from morning 5 AM on the Krishna Jayanthi Day and ends at the midnight of the same day. Those who fast for Janmashtami may stop taking food after 5 AM on Krishna Jayanthi.
They should break their fast by taking grainless preparations after midnight. You can take as much prasadam as possible after midnight (ie, at the end of Janmashtami) after the abhishek or worship for Lord Krishna. This is the Janmashtami fasting method.
Next day, will be the Birth Anniversary of Srila Prabhupada. So, If you like to observe fast for Srila Prabhupada, you have to fast again till noon on Srila Prabhupada Jayanthi, till 1 PM. After that, you can take regular full prasadam with grains.
IF YOU CHOOSE FULL FAST:
Though you choose to observe full fast, you may take water on both these days because the fast will be for long duration. Water need not be avoided.
Though you do not fast, you can perform other pujas meant for Janmashtami after bathing.
Devotees observe strict discipline while fasting. They feel keeping such fast is the only thing that they can offer to Krishna as a penance. Fasting is accompanied by singing of devotional songs and mantra chanting.
IF YOU OBSERVE PARTIAL FAST:
However, those who are unable to fast totally, may observe SIMILAR TO EKADASI FASTS with fruits, water, nuts, green vegetables and milk, avoiding all grains. They can prepare some of the popular Janmashtami fast recipes. These recipes are specially meant for the fasting days. This special recipe is known as ‘phalahaar’. It does not include cereals and grains.
Devotees make various dishes during the fast. They have milk and milk products during the fast. This because Lord Krishna was particularly fond of milk and butter. Sweet dishes are also made and had during Janmashtami fast. Kheer, Pedhas are popular sweets that devotees have.
Some of the famous Janmashtami fast recipes are:
Singhare ki puri
Til ki Kheer
Let us know how to prepare Singhare ki puri. For this recipe, ingredients required are:
Boiled and mashed Potatoes
Chopped green chillies
Oil For Deep Frying
Red Chili Powder
Salt to taste
Procedure for making Sighare ki Puri:
Mix all the ingredients properly and make hard dough for puris. Roll the dough into small puris and deep fry it. You should add less water in the dough.
What Srila Prabhupada says?
Srila Prabhupada explains the importance of Janmashtami, stating, “One has to learn how Krishna takes birth. It is not an ordinary birth. Had it been an ordinary birth, then why should we observe the Janmashtami ceremony? It is Divine, Transcendental.”
HOW TO OBSERVE JANMASHTAMI AT HOME?
Here are the tips on how to celebrate Janmashtami at home:
(1) Invite all your friends and family to participate in the festivities.
(2) Decorating your home for Krishna can be fun, particularly for children. Encourage them in helping to make garlands, hanging balloons and leaves, and generally making the house beautiful for Krishna’s appearance.
(3) Get a copy of the Vaishnava Songbook and choose some of your favorite bhajanas (devotional songs in praise of God) to sing. Krishna, also known as Murlidhara, or “one who holds the flute,” loves music. And so will your friends and family, as you take turns singing and playing instruments. Alternatively, play bhajan CDs and heighten the spiritual atmosphere.
(4) You can also chant extra rounds of the Hare Krishna Maha-Manthra with your japa mala (prayer beads).
(5) Read the story of Krishna’s advent and other exciting pastimes from Srila Prabhupada’s “Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead” or “Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto Ten”. Pass the book around, and try dramatic readings to bring the story to life. Janmashtami is all about completely immersing yourself in the thoughts of Krishna in a festive way.
(6) If you have Radha-Krishna pic.s, get extra special new outfits for them. Exercise your creativity and pay special attention to decorating their altar. Simply buy different liquids like yogurt, honey, ghee and fruit juices and bathe the deity with them while singing devotional songs.
(7) Temples prepare at least one hundred and eight different food dishes on Janmashtami. Though that much is difficult at home, it’s always nice to cook a few very special preparations to offer to the Lord. Imagine that Krishna was actually right there, in your house—what would you offer Him? This makes for a wonderful meditation while cooking on Janmashtami.
(8) Perform a midnight arati (worship ceremony on Janmashtami day midnight) with a kirtan. This is the exact time that Krishna appeared on this planet, so it is the most auspicious and spiritually inspiring. If you have arati paraphernalia, then you can do a full offering. If not, don’t worry–Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita, “If you offer Me with love a leaf, flower, fruit or water, I will accept it.” So offer whatever you can—it’s your love and devotion that matters.
(9) If you have Deities you can buy or make jewelry, new clothes, garlands, peacock feathers, turban pieces, flutes or water cups, Incense , Fruit basket, Offering plate, New picture frame if you worship a picture of Krishna Brand new arati set.
(10) If you are able to fast from food, fasting until midnight is recommended. If fasting is too difficult, then try to eat only grain-free foods during the day. If you are recommended by the doctors not to fast, do not fast and take light foods. By putting our own needs aside and concentrating more on Krishna’s, we show our love for Him.
(12) You can engage your children in many of the above activities. Depending on your children’s ages, they can help cook, make garlands, design a birthday card, play musical instruments, dance and chant Hare Krishna. There are many children’s books about Krishna as well as DVDs of Krishna pastimes in all ISKCON Centers.
(13) Children also enjoy dressing up as Radha, Krishna and their associates, and re-enacting Krishna’s pastimes. This helps to create a very festive mood.
As you celebrate Janmashtami, remember that just as we enjoy the attention and fun on our birthday, so the Lord also enjoys our attention and gifts on His appearance day. The difference between us and Krishna is that He is able to reciprocate perfectly with each one of us. In the transcendental realm, everything that we offer to the Lord with love and devotion will benefit us unlimitedly, and those benefits will stay with us for eternity.
Let Krishna bless all of you.