Dedicated in the worship of Lord Shiva, Maha Shivratri is one of most auspicious festival for Hindus across India and abroad. Celebrated every year in the honor of the Hindu God, Shiva the meaning of the word ‘Shivratri’ literally translates to the meaning, ‘Great night of Shiva’. And as Hindus from all over the country get enchanted with the discovery of the Hindu God, his values, ethics and virtues like self-restraint, honesty, forgiveness and others, it is believed that by worshiping this holy night of Shiva people get rid of their sins. Mostly on this night, Hindus chant prayers, keep fasts and meditates to honor Lord Shiva. Among most Hindus, it is believed that on this holy day, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati got married, thus bringing together two great forces. Hence, this day is also believed to be the convergence of Shiva and Shakti. Hindus further believe that Lord Shiva performs ‘tandav nritya’ on the night of Shivratri.
On the day of Shivratri devotees bath the Shiv Linga, which is considered as a representation of Lord Shiva, with water, milk and honey and offer fruits, flowers and bel leaves (wood apple leaves). Hindus in groups of many chants ‘Om Namah Shiva’ and the ‘Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra’ and perform ‘Maha Rudra Abhishek’ to impress Lord Shiva. The mantras which originate from the Vedic scriptures are believed to convert negative energy into peace and joy.
Maha Shivratri usually falls on the 13th night and 14th day of the New Moon. Based on the Hindu luni-solar calendar, the festival is celebrated for three to ten days. Since it is celebrated in every lunar months of the year, there are 12 Shivratri every year. This year Maha Shivratri will be observed on the evening of February 24.
Importance and Significance:
Shivratri is considered one of the most auspicious as married and unmarried Hindu women across the country observe fast, perform puja of Lord Shiva and try to please Goddess Parvati, to seek blessings to get a good husband like Lord Shiva. The Goddess is believed to bless the women with a long and prosperous married life. The key significance of the Maha Shivratri is that it is believed to be the darkest night of the year.