Maha Shivaratri is a much celebrated Hindu festival celebrated annually for Lord Shiva. The festival is celebrated on the new moon day in the month of Maagha according to Hindu calendar. The day is celebrated to pray Shiv Ji, an important deity in Hindu culture. … From that day on wards, the night came to be known as Maha Shivratri and people began worshiping Shiva with a great enthusiasm. Shivaratri Festival is celebrated on a moonless night.
Shivaratri or ‘Shiva’s Great Night’ symbolizes the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati Mata. Many believe, Shivaratri is the night when Lord Shiva performed the Tandava Nrityam – the dance of primordial creation, preservation and destruction.
Celebrating the festival in a customary manner, devotees give a ritual bath to the Shiva Lingam with the panchagavya – milk, Yogurt, Cow urine, butter and Cow dung. Celebrations of Shivaratri Festival mainly take place at night. Devotees go to Shiv Ji temples across the world and spend night by chanting verses and hymns in praise of the Lord Shiva. The festival holds special meaning for the ladies. They pray to Goddess Parvati also called ′Gaura′, the giver of ′suhag′ for good husbands, marital bliss and a long and prosperous married life.
Wedding of Lord Shiva and Parvati Mata
In Northen Indian tradition, Devotees also celebrate the day as the wedding anniversary of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Temples are decorated with flowers and devotees take out a procession in the name of Bhole ki baraat or Shiva’s baraat procession in the evening.
Shiva’s birthday – the emergence of Shiva Lingam
According to Shiva Puranam, Brahma and Vishnu – were Challenging to establish who is superior between the two. Horrified by this, other Gods asked Shiv Ji to intervene and he assumed the form of a huge column of fire in between Brahma and Vishnu to make them realize the futility of their fight. Brahma and Vishnu decided to find the topmost end of the fire column. Brahma assumed the form of a swan and went upwards while Vishnu took the form of Varaha and went inside earth. As light has no limit, neither Brahma nor Vishnu could find the end despite searching for thousands of miles.
During his journey upwards, Brahma came across a Ketaki flower wafting down slowly. When asked where she came from flower replied she had been offered at the top of the fire column. Brahma decided to end his search and take the flower as a witness. This angered Shiva who then punished Brahma for lying and cursed him that no one would ever pray to him. Many devotees do not worship Brahma and there is only one temple dedicated to him – the Pushkar temple in Rajasthan. The Ketaki flower too was banned from being used as an offering for any worship, as she had testified falsely. Since Shiv Ji helped to end the fight among the Gods, the day is celebrated in his honor.
On the day of Maha Shivratri People keep fast, day and night and all the temple gets congregated by the young and old devotees from very early morning. They come to the temple to perform the puja to traditional Shiva Lingam. Worshiper brings a pot of holy Ganga water to the temple to offer to Shiva Lingam. Women pray to God for her well-being of their husbands and sons, an unmarried woman pray to get their desired husband like Shiva (the ideal husband) in future; boys pray to get beautiful wife and successful life in the future. The temple full of sound of bells and people shouts of “Shankerji ki Jai” or “Mahadevji ki Jai”. Devotees take 5 round of the Shiva Lingam and pour water on the Shiva Lingam. Devotees also do Abhishek with cow milk for Shiv Ji
Devotees observe fast for whole day from early morning to next morning in prayer of Lord Shiva, and receive blessings with their all wishes. Devotees may eat some fruits, milk or juice and water. However, some devotees keep Nirajal fast without eating and drinking anything according to their belief. It is also believed on this auspicious day of Maha Shivaratri, Shiv Ji forgives all sins and bless them with Moksha.