Maha Shivratri Quick Facts
|Maha Shivratri (महा शिवरात्रि)
|8 March 2024
|Festival Observed by
History of Maha Shivratri
Mahashivratri is the main festival of Hindus. According to the Hindu calendar, Mahashivaratri is celebrated on the Krishna Chaturdashi of Falgun month. This festival is celebrated by fasting, praying and worshiping Lord Shiva. Fasting on Shivratri is considered extremely auspicious and is believed to bring blessings and fulfillment of wishes.
Mahashivaratri is a major festival of Hinduism which is an occasion to worship and worship Lord Shiva. This festival is celebrated on the Chaturdashi date of Krishna Paksha of Phalgun month. According to mythology, the creation started on this day with the rise of Agnilinga (which is the giant form of Mahadev). On this day Lord Shiva was married to Goddess Parvati. Lord Shiva and his wife Parvati are worshiped on the day of Mahashivaratri.
Story of Maha Shivratri
Marriage of Sati and Shiva: According to a famous legend, Lord Shiva and Goddess Sati were married on the day of Mahashivratri. This story is narrated in the Puranas and is the reason for celebrating Mahashivaratri as this special occasion.
Sagar Manthan: The second major story describes a churning of the ocean between the gods and the asuras in which Shiva assisted Lord Vishnu to obtain the nectar (Amrita). In this legend, the importance of Mahashivratri is told because on this day Shiva obtained nectar.
Bhootnath Vrat Katha: This story depicts the importance of observing a fast on the occasion of Mahashivratri. According to the legend, a poor man performed special devotion and fast on Shiva on the day of Mahashivaratri. Shiva blessed him and removed his problems.
Significance of Maha Shivratri
Mahashivratri is celebrated on the Chaturdashi date of the Krishna Paksha of Phalgun month. Night is given special importance on this day, because night is given special recognition for the unique worship of Lord Shiva.
Worship of Shivatattva: Special worship of Shivatattva is done on Mahashivaratri. Worshiping Lord Shiva on this day gives an opportunity to surrender to him through devotion, meditation and mantra chanting.
Protection from holocaust: It is believed that on the day of Mahashivratri Lord Shiva saved the universe from annihilation. Hence, this day symbolizes his power and compassion and people worship him on this day and seek his blessings.
Liberation from sins: Mahashivaratri is celebrated with full devotion and reverence. Celebrating together is believed to absolve all sins. This day provides an opportunity to a person to attain spiritual purification and salvation.
How to celebrate Maha Shivratri
Mahashivratri is celebrated in various forms, which may be slightly special according to different regions and sects:
Shivling worship: Shivling is worshiped on the day of Mahashivaratri. Shiva is worshiped by offering water, incense, flowers, Bel Patra, Bilva Patra etc. on the Shivling. This worship is performed with reverence and devotion.
Jagran: On the day of Mahashivaratri, night-long vigil is done. People keep getting up and recite bhajans, kirtans, aartis and Shiva stories. This awakening is an important medium of devotion and worship to attain Shiva.
Vrats and fasting: Many people observe fasts and fasts on the day of Mahashivaratri. Food items like grain, tandul, ghee, flour, monthly, onion and garlic are sacrificed on this day. This fast is observed for self-purification and for the grace of Shiva.
Shiva Bhajans and Kirtans: People perform Shiva Bhajans and Kirtans and chant the name of Shiva. It is an important way of praising and worshiping Shiva.
Visit to Shiva temples: Shiva temples are visited on the day of Mahashivaratri. People climb the Shivling and offer their worship.
Tradition and customs of Maha Shivratri
The traditions of Mahashivaratri may show slight variation according to different regions, sects and Acharya Vrittis. Here are some of the major Mahashivratri traditions:
Jnanagam Sect: In this major sect, Mahashivaratri is considered a day of special worship to Lord Shiva. Special worship, abhishek, meditation and bhajan-kirtan are done on this day. Crowds of people gather in temples and water is offered to various Shivalingas.
Kashi Vishwanath tradition: Mahashivratri is celebrated in a special way in the Kashi Vishwanath temple of Varanasi. On this day, a special crowd of devotees gathers in the premises of the temple from early morning and continuous worship, archana, aarti and bhajan-kirtan are performed from Pradosh Kaal till night.
Naga Sampraday: Mahashivratri is celebrated in the Mahakaleshwar temple of Ujjain according to the tradition of the Naga Sampraday. The crowd and number of followers of Naga Sadhus increase specially on this day.
Panchamrit Abhishek: Many people anoint the Shivling with Panchamrit (milk, curd, ghee, honey, honey) on this day. It is an important part of worship and is offered to seek the blessings of Shiva.
Tandava dance: In some places, the Tandava dance of Shiva is also performed on the day of Mahashivratri. This dance symbolizes the infinite power of Shiva and the destruction of creation.
More info about Maha Shivratri
Mahashivratri has changed over the years with various cultural and social changes. In earlier times women traditionally did not worship and fast during Mahashivratri, but nowadays many women consider it as a religious and social obligation and observe fast and offer prayers. Nowadays, many Shiva temples and organizations organize social service functions on the day of Mahashivaratri. Apart from the worship of Shiva, there are also important works for the society, such as distribution of food, medical camps, education related programs etc.
At some places during Mahashivaratri special exhibition of Tandava dance of Shiva and rain of water on Shivling is performed. Its main objective is to give religious and cultural enjoyment to the people. Nowadays religious propaganda programs are organized by religious organizations and religious leaders during Mahashivaratri. In these programmes, the importance of Shivling, virtues and glory of Shiva, religious stories etc. are discussed. In some sects, tantric worship and sadhana are organized during Mahashivaratri. In this, special tantra mantra, yantra and worship method is followed.
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