Maha Shivratri

Introduction

This is one of the greatest Hindu Festival which is celebrated with great fervor and joy across India and Nepal. Maha Shivratri is celebrated every year and as the same suggests it is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is considered one of the Hindu Trinity or important gods of Hinduism. He is known as the “destroyer”. As per the Hindu calendar this festival is celebrated in the Hindu month of Maagha on the new moon day and is considered the most pious and spiritually significant shivratri of all the Shivratris that fall on the 14th day of each lunar month. One can enjoy and participate in the processions in Ujjain where huge idols of Lord Shiva are carried out.

Maha Shivratri 2018 Date, Day & Time
This Mahashivratri falls on 13th February 2018 on Tuesday.   Date: 13th February 2018 Day: Tuesday
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Significance

This festival not only has a spiritual significance but also the scientific significance. On this night, the energy stored in human beings is naturally up-surged due to the position of Earth’s northern hemisphere. One would feel a push towards the spiritual peak and it is the reason people celebrate this festival during night. One needs to stay awake and keep the spine in vertical position so that the energies find their way. Literally Maha Shivratri means the Grand Night of Shiva.

There are many legends and stories attached to this day but the major ones are highlighted below:

This day is known as the wedding day of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva and celebrated as their wedding anniversary.

As per Shiva Purana, Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu wanted to establish their supremacy on each other and started fighting. Lord Shiva was requested to intervene and he created an enormously gigantic pillar of fire. Both these Gods then decided to find the top end of this pillar but unfortunately could not find it. Brahma then lied to Lord Shiva and cursed that no one would ever pray to Brahma. Which is why till date there is only one temple dedicated to Lord Brahma. So since Shiva put an end to the fight, this day is celebrated.

It is also believed that during the legendary Sagar Manthan, a pot of poison was discovered which Lord Shiva drank to save the entire universe. To curb the harmful effects of this poison, he has to remain awake the entire night and thus the gods danced the entire night. Eventually, Shiva didn’t get harmed but his neck turned blue due to which he was being called Neelkantha and this night was being referred to as the Maha Shivratri.

How to celebrate

There are a number of customs and traditions that worshippers follow. On this day, people go for a holy dip preferably in Ganga, then they wear clean and fresh clothes and offer the holy Ganga water, milk, flowers, honey, dhatura, akwan flowers and bhaang etc. people observe strict fasts. Some do not consume water and consume fruits and milk. While some do not even consume one single drop of water. This is as per their own personal choice. It is believed that Lord Shiva is the destroyer of sins and also frees them from the vicious cycle of death and birth. Also, Shiva is prayed by women and unmarried girls in order to get a husband like him. People take out processions in the evening and call it “Bhole ki Baraat”

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