Maha Shivaratri is among the most significant Hindu festival celebrated on a yearly basis in honour of the Lord Shiva.
Maha Shivaratri is actually celebrated on the Chaturdashi of Krishna Paksha in Phagun, the Hindu lunar month. Maha Shivaratri means “the Great Night of Shiva”.
Maha Shivarathri is an ancient Hindu festival, but one that is solemn and marks a remembrance of “overcoming darkness and ignorance” in life and the planet.
It is witnessed by recalling Shiva and chanting prayers, fasting, doing Yoga and meditating on life values in addition to virtues such as self-restraint, integrity, noninjury to other people, forgiveness and the discovery of Shiva.
The ardent devotees keep awake all night. Other individuals pay a visit to one of the Shiva temples or go on pilgrimage to Jyotirlingams.
Devotees offer water, milk, dhatura, bhaang, akwan flowers to Shiva’s idol or Shivalinga and worship the Hindu God of destruction.
The Maha Shivaratri is referred to in several Puranas, especially the Skanda Purana, Linga Purana and Padma Purana. These ancient era Shaiva texts present diverse mythologies associated with this particular festival, however almost all point out fasting as well as respect with regard to idols of Shiva such as the Lingam
In Hindu mythology, the significance of Maha Shivaratri in several instances vary from different regions as well as communities.
Our team take a look at a few of the stories pertaining to Maha Shivaratri.
Wedding ceremony of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati
A substantial amount of people in particular from North India, celebrate the day as the wedding anniversary of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
Maha Shivaratri is the most important festival in Kashmir Shaivism, found in north Himalayan region of the Indian subcontinent. Temples are almost always designed with flowers and devotees offer prayers. The major Jyotirlinga Shiva temples of India, such as in Varanasi and Somnatha, are particularly frequented on Maha Shivaratri.
The icon of Neelkantha
One more popular belief associates Maha Shivaratri with the legend of Lord Shiva drinking poison in order to save the universe.
In the course of the rolling of the ocean (the legendary sagar manthan), gods and demons found out a number of objects and one of them was a poison pot.
Lord Shiva drank the poison to save the universe from its consequences. Gods danced in order to safeguard Shiva from the toxic effect of the poison and keep him awake for a night.
The poison finally didn’t cause harm to Shiva, but transformed his throat glowing blue. This turned out to be when he gotten the name Neelkantha. Since then, the night is celebrated as Maha Shivratri.
Maha Shivaratri is celebrated extensively in the temples all over Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.
Married women pray for their husbands’ well-being, and unmarried women pray they will have a husband like Shiva – who is viewed as the ideal.