Maha Shivartri 2011 arrives with the same fervor yet with a uniqueness of its own. As one of the grand festivals in India this is celebrated with immense devotion. Rituals like taking a bath, preferably in the Ganges, chanting the hyms and washing the Shiv Lingam add to the glory of Maha Shivratri. Every year, thousands of devotes visit temples with this Lord’s idol or Lingam and offer prayers.
Maha Shivratri 2011 falls on 3rd of March. The date is decided as per the North Indian calendar. The festival falls in Falgun Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi. Several mythological tales are attached to this fete.
Maha Shivratri celebrations:
Maha Shivratri celebration begins right from the dawn. People clean their home and themselves with care before visiting the temples. Devotees prefer the Ganges to purify them and may often travel from far to be at the holy river. After this, they visit the Shiva temples and take part in various ceremonies. They perform rituals such as washing the Shiva Lingam with water, milk and honey. Prayers with “Om Namah Shivayi” chants are a common sight in Shiv temples. Folklores such as the Shiv Tandava, Shiv Parvati marriage and the Samudra Manthan are usually associated with the festival. Night long celebrations take place at Shiv temples, where traditional recipes of Thandai and Cashew Nut Barfi are served along with many other festive special recipes.
Maha Shivratri rituals:
Just like every other year, Maha Shivratri 2011 will be celebrated with its special rituals. The day begins with special customs and ends with customs as well. Devotees wake up before the sunrise, bathe themselves in the holy Ganges and prepare themselves for other ritual activities. They pay respect and offer prayers to Lord Shiva, Sun God and Lord Vishnu. After bathing the Shiv Lingam with milk, yoghurt, rose water, sandlewood paste, water and honey. Devotees pray with coconut, special flowers, fruits and incense sticks. Women seek blessings from this Lord and Goddess Parvati for blissful marital life and to get good husband.
Special prayers are offered to this Lord of creation and destruction, all through the night. Devotees stay awake and sing hyms in praise of the Lord Shiva. In some places there are enactments of the Shiv Parvati marriage at midnight.
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