Maha Shivaratri, also known as “the great night of Lord Shiva”, is a Hindu festival celebrated annually in honor of Lord Shiva. This festival is observed on the 14th night of the new moon during the Hindu month of Phalguna (February/March). It is one of the most significant festivals in Hinduism, and millions of devotees across India and around the world observe it with great fervor and devotion.
The Legend of Maha Shivaratri: The festival of Maha Shivaratri is based on several legends from Hindu mythology. According to one legend, it is believed that on this night, Lord Shiva performed the cosmic dance of creation, preservation, and destruction. It is also believed that on this night, Lord Shiva married Parvati, his consort. It is said that on this day, Lord Shiva granted his blessings to his devotees and bestowed upon them prosperity and happiness.
Another legend states that during the churning of the ocean by the Devas and the Asuras, a pot of poison emerged from the ocean, which had the potential to destroy the world. Lord Shiva, in his magnanimity, drank the poison to save the world. The poison made his throat blue, and thus, he came to be known as Neelkanth.
Significance of Maha Shivaratri: Maha Shivaratri holds immense significance for the followers of Lord Shiva. It is believed that by observing fast and worshiping Lord Shiva on this auspicious day, one can attain salvation and achieve spiritual upliftment. It is also believed that by offering prayers to Lord Shiva on this day, one can attain success, prosperity, and happiness in life.
Celebrations of Maha Shivaratri: Maha Shivaratri is celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotion across India and around the world. Devotees observe fast, and visit Shiva temples to offer prayers and seek blessings from Lord Shiva. The devotees also offer flowers, milk, honey, and bael leaves to the Shiva Lingam, the symbol of Lord Shiva. Devotees also chant mantras and sing hymns in praise of Lord Shiva. Many people also stay awake all night, observing the jagaran or night vigil, to seek blessings from Lord Shiva.
In some parts of India, people take out processions on this day, carrying the idol of Lord Shiva, and performing various cultural and folk dances. In some places, fairs are organized, where people indulge in fun and frolic and enjoy the festivities with their loved ones.
In conclusion, Maha Shivaratri is a festival that holds immense significance for the followers of Lord Shiva. It is a day of immense spiritual and cultural importance, which brings people together to celebrate and seek blessings from Lord Shiva. Through this festival, people seek to attain inner peace, prosperity, and happiness, and strive to lead a life filled with devotion, love, and compassion.
Here in Zapya we wish you a blessed and happy Maha Shivaratri!