Radha was the consort of Lord Krishna and the birth anniversary of Goddess Radha is observed as Radha Ashtami. This day occurs on Ashtami Tithi in Shukla Paksha of Bhadrapada month.
Devotees observe fast on Radha Ashtami day. They worship Goddess Radha during Madhyahna Kala, which is the noon time as per the Hindu division of the day. Currently, Radha Ashtami falls in the month of August or September in English calendar.
Radhashtami and Radha Jayanti are the other names for Radha Ashtami.
Rituals on Radha Ashtami:
On Radha Ashtami, devotees rise before sunrise and spend the day worshipping Goddess Radha. Some devotees also observe a fast for this occasion to show their devotion to Goddess Radha. Prayers are offered to Radha maa along with Lord Sri Krishna. The worship of Lord Sri Krishna is incomplete without worshipping Radha Rani.
The idol of Goddess Radha is bathed and an abhishek is performed with ‘panchamrit’, at noon. The idol is then adorned with new clothes and fresh flowers. The devotees offer shringar items, dhoop and bhog to Radhaji. After this Radhaji’s Harti is sung and the prasad is distributed among devotees. On the day of Radha Ashtami, devotees recite different names of Goddess Radha and also chant the ‘Radha Gayatri Mantra’.
In Barsana, which is the birthplace of Radha, taking a bath in the holy Radha Kund is strictly prohibited. On any other day, even chanting the name of Radhaji is not allowed as it is considered discourteous for the Goddess. But on the day of Radha Ashtami, the devotees need to wait till midnight to take a dip in the holy waters of the Radha Kund and receive Her divine blessings.