One of the most widely celebrated festivals in India, Mahashivaratri is on 21st February this year. This festival falls in the Hindu month of Phalguna. Dedicated to the worship of lord shiva, Mahashivaratri is one of the most ancient festivals of Hindu religion. Shivaratri means Lord Shiva's night. It is one of the largest and most significant among the sacred festival nights of India.
Shiva is also worshipped as the Adi Guru (first teacher) from whom the divine wisdom originates
The whole nation is gearing up to welcome spring and spring festivals. The most important and favourite festival for devotees of Lord Shiva, Mahashivaratri is the first festival of the season.
Significance of Mahashivratri and fasting on this day!
The day marks a remembrance of overcoming darkness and ignorance in life and the world. It is believed that Shiva was married to Parvati on this day.
Devotees on Maha Shivaratri perform various religious activities on this day like fasting, offering prayer on the Shivalinga and doing pujas. Many devotees sit all night praying to the Hindu deity, singing hymns in praise. In several temples, Shiva Lings are given a holy bath every three hours. People visit temples on the day of Shivaratri to offer milk, fruits and bael leaves to Lord Shiva. It is believed that Lord Shiva was fond of 'Bilva Leaves'.
Apart from offering Pujas, some people chant Vedic mantras, practice sadhana and meditation. These sacred practices bestow a sense of peace and oneness within us and with the world.
According to legends, Shiva performs the heavenly dance of creation, preservation and destruction on the night of Mahashivaratri.
The Shivaratri fast is a significant Hindu fast. Many devotees observe a nirjala vrat (fasting without a drop of water), where they do not consume even a drop of water or a morsel of food until they break their fast. Majority of devotees opt for a 'Phallar' fasting, where they consume fruits and milk. Some people also prefer to have light sattvic meal.
Not only in India, but Mahashivatri is also a National Holiday in Nepal where it is celebrated with all zeal and enthusiasm. Devotees visit the temples across the country and offer Pujas to Lord Shiva!