What is Maha Shivaratri?
Hindu devotees of Lord Shiva Shamvu consider Maha Shivaratri or Shiv Chaturdashi the greatest night to worship Lord Shiva and ask for forgiveness for their sins.
On this day, devotees celebrate a day-night-long festival and worship. The whole day from sunrise, the devotees of Lord Shiva maintain a day-long fast without drinking or eating anything till midnight. They break their fast after praising and chanting mantras at midnight.
Shivaratri is not celebrated on the same day yearly because of the changing lunar cycle. It is the fourteenth day during the waxing phase of the Lunar cycle in the Phalguna month if you are following the Purnima Calendar and Magha for the Amavashyant calendar.
Maha Shivaratri - All Quick Overview
- Category: Religious
- Where It’s Marked? Globally
- Why It’s Marked?The day is celebrated on the Krishna Paksha of Phalguna month, which is a significant event for Shiva's devotees all over the world not only beCause it is auspicious but also beCause it allows people to pray to God and ask Him to forgive them for their sins.
History of Maha Shivaratri
Hindu devotees mark Maha Shivaratri in honor of their distinctive and significant beliefs. Some of them are based on stories about him.
Lord Shiva is the subject of magnificent legends in the Puranas and other ancient Sanskrit literature. According to the stories, some people believe that honoring Shiv dev will bring them tranquility, while others claim that worshiping Lord Shiva will make their sins forgiven.
Let’s dive into those beautiful legends and try to find out about the story behind Maha Shivaratri.
1. Reunion of Purusha and Prakriti
The most known story behind the celebration of Maha Shivaratri is the marriage of Lord Shiva and Parvati, narrated in the Skanda Purana. It is also assumed that Lord Shiva performs his sacred dance, or Tandav, representing creation, preservation, and destruction on this day.
Sati was Lord Shiva's first wife. But following Sati's untimely passing, he decided to immerse himself in intensive meditation.
During that time, the demon king Tarakasur wanted to take advantage of the situation. Tarakasur terrorized both the human and divine worlds because he thought he was immortal as long as Mahadev was engrossed in meditation. His devotion and Tapasya made God Brahma grant the blessing that Lord Shiva's Son could only slay him.
In the meantime, the god of the Himalayas and his wife, Mena, gave birth to the reincarnation of Sati, Devi Parvati. After growing up, Sage Narada told her that she was destined to marry Lord Shiva.
Additionally, the sage advised her to adopt the path of penance to appease Shiva, who had withdrawn from any worldly affair. For thousands of years, she only consumed fruits and flowers; after another thousand years, she ate fallen leaves.
Eventually, she survived on air at one point and became fragile. Upon hearing the news of Parvati's great penance, Brahma appeared in front of her and told her that no one in the entire universe, not even Shiva did Tapasya the way Parvati did. And grant her his wish to marry Shiva.
It was time for Shiva to wake up from his meditation, and the Gods sent Kamadev to do the deed. Although Shiva was not happy about the fact and Kamadev was burnt up with his anger, he agreed to marry Parvati upon hearing everything.
But before that, he wanted to test her devotion and tried to change her mind. Parvati's unwavering love for him pleased Lord Shiva, and he agreed to marry her and have the son to end Tarakasur.
Lord Shiva is called the Purusha, or mindfulness and energy in the universe, while Devi Parvati is considered nature. So, when they are tied with the marital bond, their unity remarks as the divine peace and ultimate well-being of the world.
How to celebrate Maha Shivaratri?
Shivaratri is the holiest night of the year for the devotees of Lord Shiva. They long for this night to worship, sing and dance to please The God of Destruction, and he takes away all the sorrow of life.
Here is how to celebrate Maha Shivaratri:
1. Fasting During the Day of Maha Shivratri
Observing fasting helps to detoxify the body and prepare your mind for meditating and worshiping on the night of the festival. Fasting during the day and consuming easily digestible fruits and foods only will prepare you for the main event.
2. Focus on Spirituality
After fasting all day long, your mind and body will be ready to observe the spirituality around you. Observe the vigil on Shivratri. Try not to sleep and meditate throughout the night and contemplate on Spiritual practice.
You can meditate while chanting the Mantra "Om Namah Shivaya." Chanting the mantra will help you feel the harmony and love in all the elements of earth and your connection with them- Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether.
3. Attending Rudra Puja
If possible, try to attend the gatherings or meeting where Shadhus or priests enchant the Vedik mantras, sings kirtans, and tell Pouranik stories of Lord Shiva with rituals.
Even though he seems to be the wildest and most vigorous in nature, Shiva's story is full of Love, passion, and teaching that one should be aware of his surroundings and stay calm. He also teaches us that destruction can happen if you fail to control your emotions.
4. Worshiping of Shivalinga at home
You must have seen the black Linga form of Lord Shiva that is worshipped in almost every Temple worldwide. The Linga form of Shiva also emerged in the world to this day.
To worship Shivalinga at home, you need to perform Abhishekam first. With milk, curd and honey, you have to wash the Shiva Linga at home while reciting Om Namah Shivaya. After that, garnish the linga with flowers and Bilva leaves.
There are a few auspicious elements that are favorites of Lord Shiva. You need to gather them together to please him. They are:
- Bilva leaves,
- White color flowers,
- Water from the purest Ganga,
- Sacred Ash
- Sandalwood paste and
Countries that Observe Maha Shivaratri
The Hindu followers of Lord Shiva usually celebrate Maha Shivaratri. The day is a public holiday in Nepal, Mauritius, and India.
Devotees in Bangladesh and anywhere around the world also observe this day.
Interesting Facts about Maha Shivaratri
The stories of Lord Shiva are ending. So, instead of telling more stories, let us inform you about some interesting facts about Maha Shivaratri that you didn't know existed.
- The unmarried women observe fast and pray to Lord Shiva so that they can get an ideal companion just like him.
- While unmarried women pray for a husband like Shiva, married women worship for their husband's well-being.
- During Maha Shivaratri, Nishita Kala or midnight is most important as Lord Shiva manifested as his Lingam form at that time on earth.
- It is believed that fasting and worshipping Shivratri can help you get more control over negative thoughts like anger, greed, or lust.
- The moon usually disappears during the night and is often considered the darkest night of the year.
- When Goddess Ganga descended in full force, Shiva caught her in his matted locks and released her into several streams preventing destruction on earth.
- A pot of poison emerged when the gods and demons churned the ocean together to obtain the ambrosia that they lay in its depths. Lord Shiva consumed the poison and saved both god and humanity. But the poison lodged in the Lord's throat and turned him blue. To honor the savior of the world, Shivaratri is celebrated.
- The devotees of Lord Shiva pour milk and water on his head to calm Shiva’s anger.
Unique Maha Shivaratri Celebration Ideas
The true devotees try not to feast or arrange marriage ceremonies on the holy night of Maha Shivaratri. They attend puja with full concentration and do not kill time watching movies or games.
After fasting, you should prepare for the puja from sunset to sunrise the next day. But before that, you can celebrate the whole day with the ideas mentioned below:
1. Visit Upasonalays or Mandir
Having the magical ambiance of Shivaratri in your home is impossible while sitting alone is impossible. So, with your friends and family members and visit different temples.
Since the fast is day long and till midnight, it is hard enough to stay awake the whole night. Attending the vernations in the mandir and temples will help you with that.
2. Shivratri for Kids
Maha Shivaratri is a great occasion to spend with kids. You can tell stories about the calm and mindful Shiva and the destructive one.
You can craft Shiva with papers or drawings for decoration with your kids. And teach them easy Yogasanas or breathing techniques. These will help them sit with you during puja and meditation and grow healthy habits in them as well.
3. Attend the Grand Gatherings
To celebrate Maha Shivaratri, you can tour the historical places that are well known for the celebration. It must be a great experience to attend puja, Arti, and chant maha-mantra with thousands of people rather than sitting alone in your home.
You can choose Uttarakhand, Assam, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, or Tamil Nadu to feel the energy of observing Maha Shivaratri with thousands of other devotees.
Maha Shivaratri Quotes
Here are some quotes and wishes you can share to lift the spirit of Shivaratri.
"May Shiva favor you with great well-being, joy, and success, Om Namah Shivay!"
"Lord Shiva is the supreme power. May he showers you with his blessings on Maha Shivaratri!"
"Wishing you and your family a blessed, happy, and prosperous Maha Shivaratri! May all your desires come true with the blessings of Lord Shiva. Happy Maha Shivaratri!"
"May Lord Shiva destroy all your sorrow and eliminate all your life's troubles. Jai Shiva Shankar!"
"May Lord Shiva shower you with all his choicest endowments on this Maha Shivaratri, Har har Mahadev!"
1. Why do people keep Maha Shivaratri fast?
People keep fasting on Maha Shivaratri to pray during the Jagarana period and start praising Lord Shiva with Rudravishekh.
2. When can I break my Shivratri fast?
According to Drikpanchang, you need to break the fast after the puja. It should be between sunrise and before the end of Chaturdashi Tithi.
3. Can we drink water during Shivaratri fast?
Many devotees choose not to drink or eat anything during fasting. However, if it becomes difficult, you can consume water, fruits, nuts, and fluids.
Maha Shivaratri Observances
|2022||Tue||01 Mar||Maha Shivaratri||Non Public|
|2023||Sat||18 Feb||Maha Shivaratri||Non Public|
|2024||Fri||08 Mar||Maha Shivaratri||Non Public|
|2025||Wed||26 Feb||Maha Shivaratri||Non Public|
|2026||Sun||15 Feb||Maha Shivaratri||Non Public|
We constantly update the dates of holidays that keep changing every year. However, while we revise and change some dates to be accurate, if you find any errors, kindly inform us . That will mean a lot to us.