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Celebrating Maha Shivaratri 2012

Posted on February 20, 2012 | FestivalsNo Comment



On Monday 20th February, get ready to spare your night for the Indian God Lord Shiva for it is the night of Shiva or the Shivaratri. This is celebrated as Shivaratri and is in praise of Lord Shiva. This is celebrated on the fourteenth night of the day when there is no moon in the Indian month of Phalgun. This falls normally in the months of February or March as per the English calendar.

This is a very auspicious day when Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati got married. Many believe that Lord Shiva did the Tandav Nritya on this night. This dance is the dance of preservation, and also for destruction and primal creation. There is another legend that is based on the Linga Puran. This says that Lord Shiva showed himself in the form of the linga. So it is considered to be a very auspicious day for all the Hindus and the devotees of Lord Shiva. This is celebrated as Mahashivaratri.

Maha Shivaratri Festival

Mahashivaratri is celebrated all night. The temple bells ring loudly and the chant of “Om Namah Shivay” is heard. There are many devotional songs and hymns that are sung in praise of the Lord. Devotees normally perform the Jagran or stay awake the whole night and sing praises of the Lord. There is a fast the whole day and they break the fast only during the morning hours. The temples of Shiva are visited by all the devotees and it is very difficult to get a glimpse of Shiva on this day, but eventually the devotees are very happy when they do get a glimpse or a darshan of the Lord.

Ritual

A day and night fast is held. Many go on a diet of milk and fruits while others do not even consume water. The fast is end after they take religious food offering or Prasad, the following morning. Devotees of Lord Shiva feel that if they worship Him then they would be rid of the cycle of birth and death. The women consider this as a very sacred day. Married women pray for the welfare of their husbands and unmarried women pray to get a husband like Lord Shiva. Devotees wake up early in the morning and have a ritual bath and if they can they do it in the River Ganges. They wear new clothes and visit the Temple of Lord Shiva and bathe the Shiva lingam with honey, water and milk. The linga is then adorned with sandalwood paste and the linga is bathed with milk etc every three hours.

Maha Shivaratri
Mahashivaratri is the day when Hindus revere Lord Shiva a lot. It is the most important Hindu festival and is the ultimate festival of attaining moksha. It is also believed to be very important as that is the day when it is believed Goddess Parvati asked Lord Shiva about the ritual that pleases him the most.

Every three hours the devotee worships the linga with great devotion. Lord Shiva is worshipped with five materials. These are separately offered with the respective hymns. These are offered with the steady flow of water being poured over the Linga. The worshipper worships the Lord with the Nirguna and Saguna and recites the 108 mantras. Shiva is worshipped with unbroken rice grains, sandal paste and black lotus and also the karavira flowers which are offered by reciting the eight names of Lord Shiva.

Dhoop or the incense stick and the lamp is then offered. Then half a coconut and betel leaf and cooked rice is offered. After three hours, the ritualistic farewell is performed. Then the rites for the Sankalpa is performed. The Sankalpa is performed once for all the three hour period. Shiva is then offered gingerly seeds, lotus flowers and barley grains. The leaves of the bilva tree and the arghya are offered with citron fruit.

Shivaratri is a festival which reveres Lord Shiva and is one filled with lot of devotion.

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