Sivaratri or Mahashivratri
Shivaratri or Mahashivaratri (Night of Shiva) is a Hindu festival, celebrated all over the country with great enthusiasm. The festival falls every year around 13th night or 14th day in the Krishna Paksha of the month of Magh or Phalgun in the Hindu calendar. The festival is exclusively dedicated to Lord Shiva who is known by hundreds of names. Mahashivratri is the day to rejoice and pray to the almighty for wellness. On this day, Hindu people offer prayers to the Lord Shiva and also observe fasting (vrata) throughout the day. You can see huge crowd of devotees outside the Shiva temples where they come for early morning prayers.
|Shivalinga, symbol of the Lord Shiva|
The prayers continue throughout the night of Mahashivratri and Lord Shiva’s followers offer coconut, Bilva leaves, fruits and specially prepared sacred food for the occasion. As this is a dark fortnight, devotees light candles and diyas (a lamp made usually of clay, with wick made of cotton and dipped in ghee) throughout the night. This is signified as a symbol of spiritual manifestation.
Mahashivratri is one of the major festivals in India and everybody from kids to old-age people like to participate in one way or the other. Lord Shiva is also known as a ‘Destroyer’ or ‘Transformer’ according to the Hindu religion and he is worshiped not only in India but also in other neighboring countries like Nepal and Sri Lanka.
This year Mahashivratri will celebrate on 10th March.