Mahashivaratri is celebrated as a day to express gratitude to Lord Shiva for protecting the world from the deadly poison. In the Mahashivaratri festival, people keep fast the whole day and visit the temple Kashi Vishwanath gets congregated by young and old devotees starting from early morning only.
Mahashivaratri is a Hindu festival celebrated annually with devotion and religious enthusiasm in the honor of Lord Shiva. The literal meaning of Shivaratri is the great night of Lord Shiva. According to the Hindu Calendar, it is celebrated in the state of Varanasi in the dark fortnight on the 13th or 14th day of the month of Maagha for worshipping the Shiva Lingam to make happy lord shiva.
SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE MAHASHIVARATRI FESTIVAL
According to the most prevalent legend of Mahashivaratri and during the great mythical churning of the ocean called Samudra Manthan which is conducted by the gods and demons as well for obtaining nectar for making them immortal, first, the pot of poison emerges. The poison was considered to be poisonous, dangerous that nobody was ready to touch it as it had the power to destroy or burn up the whole world.
It was decided that the one who can help them get rid of poison was Lord Shiva. So, all went to him for help and shiva agreed to consume the poison. However, the poison was so deadly that even if the drop had entered lord shiva’s stomach, it would have destroyed the whole world. Shiva in a careful manner held the poison in his throat which turned blue due to the effect of the poison and he came to know as Neelkanth. Mahashivaratri is dedicated to express gratitude to Lord Shiva for protecting the world against the deadly poison.
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RITUALS OF THE FESTIVAL
At Mahashivaratri, fast is kept by people the whole day and night. Kashi Vishwanath temple is full of devotees whether old or young. They visit the temple to perform puja of the traditional shiva lingam and hope to get their wish fulfilled by God. Bath is taken in the holy water of the Ganga River which is considered a symbol of unity and bath is taken in the early morning before sunrise and wears clean clothes after a sacred bath.
A pot of holy Ganga water is brought to the temple by every worshipper. Women pray for well being of their husbands and children. The temple is full of sounds and people shouts “Shankarji ki Jai”. Water or sometimes milk is poured on the shiva lingam and worshippers take 5 rounds of shiva lingam.
According to shiva purana, the puja involves six steps which are given below-
- First, the worshipper take bath in the Ganga for purification of the soul, mind, and body.
- Shiva linga is a bath with the holy water of Ganga.
- After the bath of shiva linga, the vermilion paste is applied to it which represents virtue.
- Fruits, flowers are offered which are given for long life and satisfaction of the desires.
- Burning of enrage yields wealth.
- Diya is lighted which represents to achieve more knowledge.
- Betel leaves are offered by providing satisfaction which full of great pleasures.
Worshippers apply three horizontal lines of holy ash which represent spiritual knowledge, cleanliness, and penance. Garland is worn which is made up of Rudraksha while worshipping Lord Shiva. Shivaratri is also considered to be the day of the wedding of Lord Shiva and Parvati.
FOOD OF THE FESTIVAL
Fast is observed by many people on this day of the festival. After completing their fast, people usually eat kheer of sabudana, fruits, ramadana, and halwa of Kattu is also consumed.
Maha Shivaratri 2021 date
Mahashivaratri in the year 2021 will be celebrated in the month of March 11th. It is observed all over India and is considered to be a festival of Hindus. Every state has its own way of celebrating it. The Shivaratri falls in the month of Falgun, which is before the arrival of the spring season. Maha Shivaratri is the night when Lord Shiva is believed to perform a dance that represents the creation, destruction, and preservation which is called Tandav Nritya in Hinduism. It is believed that Lord Shiva had saved the world by consuming a deadly poisonous poison. Milk is offered and bel leaves to the shiva lingam and a famous prayer is chanted by priests while performing the puja.
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