Radhashtami' is a Hindu holy day commemorating the birth anniversary of Radha, the lover-consort of the god Krishna. Radhastami is celebrated by Krishna devotees as the appearance anniversary of Srimati Radharani, who is Krishna's greatest devotee, the feminine aspect of the Absolute Truth, and Krishna's energy Personified.
Though some community believe that Radha is the form of Lakshmi but the puranas differ with that, as per those puranas Laksmi and Radha were born from lord Narayana's right and left sides gradually. Both the goddesses wanted to marry the lord. While Lakshmi wanted 4 armed Vishnu but Radha wanted 2 armed form. Then lord separated him in 2 forms Vishnu and Krishna. Vishnu went Vaikuntha with Lakshmi and Krishna went Goloka with Radha. Lakshmiji is the goddess of wealth and Radha presides on devotion.
Determination of Date
This festival is celebrated on Bhadrapad Shukla Ashtami falling during Aprahan (the muhurat in the afternoon). If this Ashtami falls or does not fall on two days in that situation it shall be celebrated on the second day.
How to Celebrate
Traditionally, followers of Gaudiya Vaisnavism will follow a half-day fast on this day. Like Ekadashi, some devotees observe this fast for full day & some even without water. The holiday is an important holiday for followers of the Nimbarka sampradaya. On this day, devotees of Krishna ask Radha for her favour; in turn acquire Krishna's grace.
Radhashtami is ceremoniously celebrated in the Brij area. On Radhashtami day, a new outfit is offered to Srimati Radharani and the temple is lavishly decorated with flowers and garlands. On Radhastami, Radha Krishna icons are traditionally dressed entirely in flowers. Additionally, Radhashtami is the only day on which devotees may receive darshan of Radha's feet. On all other days, they remain covered.
Srimati Radharani’s glories are narrated in the morning Bhagavatam class. A maha-abhisheka is performed at noon with a variety of ingredients and many colorful flowers. Devotee men and women in the Deity kitchen an elaborate bhoga with more than 100 varieties along with many sweet dishes, pastries, and cakes. After the abhisheka, bhoga is offered and maha-arati is performed. Devotees fast till noon and enjoy a transcendental feast in the afternoon.
Cultural programs are presented in the evening to enchant the visitors and devotees.
Devotees will fast until noon and sing devotional songs in praise of the divine couple and their pastimes. Then a feast is served, most often including the Radha Red — a spicy, plum chutney.