Krishna Janmashtami, the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna, is one of the major Hindu festivals celebrated across India. However, there has been some confusion around whether Janmashtami is a government holiday this year. This comprehensive guide examines if Janmashtami is a gazetted holiday and which states declare it as a public holiday in 2023.
Janmashtami is celebrated on the Ashtami tithi (eighth day) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) in the month of Bhadrapada as per the Hindu lunisolar calendar. This year, Ashtami tithi begins on the evening of September 6 and ends on the evening of September 7, 2023. As a result, Krishna Janmashtami is being celebrated on both days in different parts of India. Let’s find out if it is a restricted holiday for banks, schools, colleges and government offices.
Is Janmashtami a National Holiday in India?
At the national level, Krishna Janmashtami is not declared as a central government holiday in India as per the official list of 2023 gazetted holidays released by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions. The central government holidays are applicable to all central government administrative offices across the country.
However, Janmashtami is declared as a state-level public holiday in the majority of Indian states, given its cultural and religious significance. The specific dates may vary by one day in different states.
Which States Have Declared Janmashtami as a Public Holiday in 2023?
Here is a look at the Indian states where Krishna Janmashtami is a gazetted state holiday this year:
- Uttar Pradesh – Janmashtami is a public holiday on September 7. All state government offices, educational institutions, and other establishments remain closed.
- Madhya Pradesh – Janmashtami will be observed as a gazetted holiday on September 7 in MP.
- Rajasthan – A holiday has been announced on September 7 for Janmashtami.
- Gujarat – Janmashtami is a gazetted holiday on September 7 in Gujarat.
- Maharashtra – Janmashtami is a state holiday on September 7 in Maharashtra. Banks and offices will be closed.
- West Bengal – Krishna Janmashtami will be observed as a holiday on September 7 in West Bengal.
- Bihar – The state government has declared Sep 7 as a public holiday for Janmashtami.
- Jharkhand – Janmashtami is a gazetted holiday on September 7 in Jharkhand.
- Haryana – After initial confusion, Haryana government has announced Janmashtami holiday on Sep 7.
- Punjab – Janmashtami is a restricted holiday on September 7 in Punjab.
- Chandigarh – Public holiday announced on September 7 for Janmashtami.
- Odisha – Half day holiday on Sep 6 for Janmashtami in Odisha.
- Chhattisgarh – Janmashtami is a state holiday on Sep 7 in Chhattisgarh.
- Himachal Pradesh – Public holiday on September 7 for Janmashtami festival.
Other major states like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, Assam, and Delhi have not declared Janmashtami as a state holiday.
Are Banks Closed for Janmashtami?
As per the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines, banks will remain closed on Janmashtami in the states where it is a public holiday. Most banks will be closed on September 7 except in a few states where the holiday is on September 6.
The RBI list indicates bank holidays for Janmashtami this year in – Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand.
In Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, banks will be closed on September 6. Banks will function normally on Janmashtami in other states.
Are Schools and Colleges Closed for Janmashtami 2023?
In the states where Janmashtami is a public holiday, schools and colleges also remain closed on the festival day. Most schools and educational institutions will observe a holiday on September 7 except in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Odisha where the holiday is on September 6.
Several education boards like UP Board, MP Board, RBSE, GSEB have announced Janmashtami holiday for schools on September 7. The Haryana government also deferred the school holiday from Sep 6 to Sep 7 after initial confusion regarding the Janmashtami date.
Parents and students are advised to check official school notices regarding Janmashtami holidays in respective states this year. In states where Janmashtami is not a holiday, schools and colleges may remain open.
How are Government Offices Impacted on Janmashtami?
In states where Janmashtami is a gazetted holiday, all government offices like municipal corporations, state government departments, public sector undertakings, courts etc remain closed.
Government offices in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal, Bihar and other states in the holiday list will be shut on September 7.
Emergency services like police, hospitals and transport may operate with minimal staff. The holiday impacts transactions like filing FIRs, property registration, license renewals etc.
Is Janmashtami a National Holiday for the Private Sector?
There is no mandate for private companies to observe Janmashtami as a holiday across India. However, many private organizations and multinational companies declare a holiday on Janmashtami based on the state they are operating from.
For instance, offices located in Maharashtra are likely to be closed on Sep 7. Companies need to take a call depending on the regional significance of Janmashtami and employee demographics. Most IT companies and new age startups remain functional with the option for employees to avail leave.
The Key Rituals and Celebrations on Janmashtami
Janmashtami celebrations involve special prayers, chanting of bhajans, decorating Lord Krishna idols, and observing fasts. Some of the popular rituals include:
- Mahaabhishekam – Lord Krishna idols are given a holy bath with milk, ghee, honey, gangajal etc.
- Shringar – Idols are adorned with new clothes and jewellery for the occasion.
- Raas Leela – Re-enactment of Lord Krishna’s dance with gopis is performed.
- Dahi Handi – An exciting event where human pyramids try to break curd pot hung high up.
- Bhog – Lord Krishna is offered makhan mishri, panchamrit, kheer, rajbhog as prasad.
- Jhankis – Elaborate tableaux depicting events from Krishna’s life are taken out.
- Nand Mela – Fairs recreating Mahabharata era scenes are held in places associated with Krishna.
The festive fervour and gaiety surrounding Janmashtami celebrations is remarkable in India. It is a socio-cultural highlight for Hindus.
What is the Significance of Janmashtami?
Janmashtami marks the appearance of Lord Krishna, the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu on earth. He took birth to destroy evil and establish dharma.
Krishna delivered the divine message of the Bhagavad Gita which is revered by Hindus across the world. His teachings showed the path of moksha or salvation.
As a child, Krishna’s playful pranks and loveable nature endeared him to people of Vrindavan. The rasleelas performed by him are symbolic of Prem Bhakti marg or the path of loving devotion to God.
His friendship with Sudama and love for Radha are eternal tales of virtue, morality and sacrifice. Janmashtami is thus of immense spiritual significance for devotees of Krishna across India.
Key Takeaways on Janmashtami Government Holiday
- Janmashtami is not a central government holiday but most states declare it as a public holiday.
- In 2023, the Janmashtami state holiday is on September 7 in majority states except Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Odisha where it is on September 6.
- Banks, schools, colleges, government offices remain closed in states where Janmashtami is a gazetted holiday.
- Private companies can decide on closing offices based on the significance of the festival in respective states.
- Janmashtami celebrations revolve around puja rituals, music and dance performances, Dahi Handi, feast meals etc.
- The festival marks the birth of Lord Krishna who is regarded as a divine avatar and giver of the Bhagavad Gita wisdom.
So in summary, while Janmashtami is not a pan-India public holiday, it is observed as an important state holiday in most parts of the country owing to its religious and cultural importance. The exact date may vary by region.