RTIwala Trending: Mahashivratri is one the most worshiped festival of India that celebrates the “great night of Lord Shiva” that comes once in a year before the spring season. This year, the Mahashivratri will be celebrated through February 13-14, 2018 and with utmost gaiety and vigor by the devotees of Shiva.
Turning the pages of Mahashivratri History
Mahashivratri is one of the famous Hindu festivals celebrated in India that falls during the late winter before the arrival of summer. It generally falls on the 13th/14th day of February or March, a luni-solar month of the year, once a year. It is considered as a spiritual-awakening night devoted to Lord Shiva and has several significances.
According to some saints and yogis, Mahashivratri is considered as a day when Lord Shiva drank the poison originated from Samudramanthan, making a sign of removal of the negativity to protect the world. Some legends describe it as the night when Shiva performs the heavenly dance of creation, preservation, and destruction and the chorus of devotees joins the cosmic dance and remembers Shiva’s presence from everywhere.
Some legend also described the sign as this is the night when Shiva and Parvati got married. Also, some of them state that offering should be made on this day to Shiva icons such as linga to get over past sins. While prayers and vigils go throughout the night of Mahashivratri what makes it so special is its characteristic fasting.
How is Mahashivratri celebrated in India?
Mahashivratri is considered as “Great Night of Shiva” and is celebrated during the dark fortnight of Krishna Paksha. It is said that if devotees pay their utmost sincerity and devotion to the lord then their sins are washed away and they attain Moksha. Devotees went to temple early morning and made their offerings to the Shivlinga. The tradition of offering bel leaves where three leaves are stalked in one stem, milk, water, fruits, sweets, flowers and garlands, and bhang.
The most important aspect of the celebration that makes it unique is for some devotees who keep fast throughout this day. The food factor is also an important aspect of this Mahashivratri fast one can have potato-based dishes, provided it has no onion, garlic, ginger or turmeric and is to be taken with the Rock Salt. Then you have options like milk-based dishes such as thandai or kheer, non-cereal dishes like tapioca (sabudana khichdi) and one can have fruits and dry fruits as well.
Devotees observe the stillness of the day by enchanting the Shiva Mantra “Om Namah Shivaya” and reading ‘Shiva Chalisa’. In India, there are many Jyotirlinga Shiva Temples of which the very famous ones are that of Varanasi and Somnath, which are crowded on Mahashivratri by the Shiva devotees.