Mahashivratri is the day to offer prayers to Lord Shiva. It is a popular religious event in India and the devotees of Lord Shiva keep a day long fast for their God before worshipping him in the evening. It is therefore also called the night of Shiva. Temples get crowded and men and women queue up for their chances to offer puja to the Shiva Lingam. As per the Hindu calendar, the day may fall between the months of February and March of Gregorian calendar.
Celebration of Mahashivratri
While many of the Hindu festivals are observed during the daytime, celebration of Mahashivratri continues during the day as well as the night.
In the morning, devotees take a bath in the holy river of Ganga and don new clothes. They will then visit the temple to offer the ritual bath of milk, honey, water and ghee to Lord Shiva. Pujas and aartis are then performed and hymns are sung in order to praise Lord Shiva.
Though both men and women can keep fast on Mahashivratri, it is mostly popular with women. Shiva is considered to be an ideal husband and unmarried women keep fast to pray for a future husband like Shiva. On the other hand, married women observe the event to pray for the wellbeing of their husbands.
Jaagran or a nightlong vigil is observed at homes and temples and hymns and devotional songs are sung. In the morning, the devotees break their fasts after distributing the offerings (prasad) from the last night’s puja.
Legends associated with Mahashivratri
In Hindu religion, Mahashivratri has great significance. According to many references, Lord Shiva got married to Sati, the divine mother, on this particular day. According to the Hindu scripture, Mahashivratri falls on the 14th day of the new moon cycle of Phalgun. It is also believed that on this day Lord Shiva manifested the form of lingam first.
Worshipping Lord Shiva on this day is said to please the Lord most and as a result, he will bestow eternal bliss and prosperity upon his devotees. Keeping fast and worshipping the deity on Shivratri are said to purify one’s soul and pave the road for nirvana. It will wash off all his sins and will liberate the soul from the cycle of birth and death
Send Maha Shivratri cards to your friends and relatives.