Ashtami Rohini is the celebration of the birthday of Lord Krishna. This is the same as Krishna Janmashtami in the north India with regional variations. Ashtami Rohini falls in the Malayalese month of Chingam (August-September) under the fourth lunar asterism or Rohini Nakshatra, on the 8th quart of the moon Ashtami. On this auspicious day, devotees recite slogans and mantras of Lord Krishna. Another important custom of Sri Krishna Jayanti is singing of Hindu Bhajans (devotional songs) during the Janmashtami festival. People involve in dance performances that portray the life of Lord Krishna. To commemorate the birth anniversary of the Lord, Rasa Lila or the dramatic performances of the life of Krishna are performed by devotees. Butter, buttermilk and sweets are offered to the Lord on the day.
On the Ashtami Rohini festival occasion Lord Krishna Temples are brilliantly decorated with oil lamps and festival celebration continues till early hours of morning. Thousands of devotees visit the temples on Krishna Janmashtami day to get a glimpse of their favorite God in full decoration. Special feasts will be arranged by temple authorities on Krishnashtami day for devotees. Ashtami Rohini, also known as Gokulashtami and Krishna Jayanti or Janmashtami is observed as a day of fasting (vratham) by the devotees of Lord Krishna. As Lord Krishna’s birth ‘Avathaaram‘ is said to have taken place on mid-night, women, specially Namboothiri women, stay awake till mid-night and keep a vigil to the Lord. Time is passed with recreational activities and merriment. Girls usually perform the graceful Kaikottikkali and sing songs. It is only after performing the traditional poojas at mid-night that the devotees partake things that have already been offered to the Lord.
Poojas commence with cleansing baths for the worshippers. Statues of Krishna are bathed in a mixture of milk, ghee, oil and honey. Thereafter they are decorated with new clothes in saffron, orange and red and jewellery. Devotees wait anxiously to catch a glimpse of statues of Krishna in temples decked out in all his finery. This process takes place at temples attended by a large number of devotees and in simple ceremonies at home. Krishna temples are lit with oil lamps and are bedecked in traditional decorations. Huge celebrations take place in the Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple in Alappuzha and Guruvayur Devaswom temple in Kerala, a key place of Krishna worship in South India.