Maha Shivaratri (the great night of Shiva) is celebrated every year on the 13th night/14th day of the waning moon of the month of Magh as per the Hindu lunar calendar. The festival is principally celebrated by offering bael leaves, milk and water to lord Shiva, fasting all day and holding nightlong vigils.
Shivaratri meaning ‘the night of Shiva’ is celebrated by the Hindu population on the ‘magh chaturdasi’. While ‘Krishna parksha chaturdasi’ of every month is called Shivaratri, this one is the Mahashivaratri which is believed to be the day when Lord Shiva is happiest.
Maha Shivratri is an amalgamation of the sentence which means the great night of Lord Shiva. It is one of the greatest occasions to immerse in the holy chanting of Bholenath.
On Maha Shivratri, devotees indulge in the devotion of Neelkanth and roar together “Har Har Mahadev”, “Om Namah Shivay” and “Bhole Baba ki Jay”. Therefore, the voices of devotees turn the entire surrounding into a grand religious affair.
Do on Mahashivratri
Mahashivratri is the day to seek wisdom and blessings from divinity. It is the day when people meditate and offer prayers to honor Lord Shiva in more ways than one. Here are a few activities that you can perform to please Lord Shiva on Shivratri:
Other than having spiritual significance, fasting on this day help you detoxify the body and curb the restlessness of mind. Therefore, Lord Shiva devotees are advised to remain awake and meditate in honor of God and fast with fruits, which are easy to digest.
The position of constellations on the night of Shivratri is believed to promote well being and bring stability and peace to those, who meditate. It was said in the ancient era, if you cannot meditate every day, do that at least once a year, preferably on Shivratri. So, devotees remain awake and meditate on this day as they strongly believe that Lord Shiva and the entire Universal energy benefits those them.
3. Chanting Om Namah Shivay
Om Namah Shivay is believed to be the perfect mantra to chant on the divine night of Mahashivratri as it immediately elevates your energy and brings harmony and peace to mind. Shivaratri is the night to meditate and experience eternal bliss and joy.
4. Worshipping Shivalinga
The Shivalinga represents the formless Shiva. On this day, people worship Shivalinga by offering ‘Bel Patra’, which conveys three aspects of human existence. These three aspects include Rajas, Tamas, and Sattva. While the Rajas corresponds to the aspect of you that is accountable for activity, Tamas defines what brings apathy and Sattva refers to the aspect of you that instills positivity, creativity, and peace. All these aspects are believed to influence the human mind and actions. When you surrender these three aspects to Lord Shiva, it is believed to bring peace and freedom.
Per Hindu puranas, the day was determined as follows: after creation was complete, Parvati asked Lord Shiva which rituals pleased him the most. The Lord replied that the 13th night of the new moon, during the month of Maagha, is his most favorite day. Parvati repeated these words to her friends, from whom the word spread over all creation.
It is believed that Lord Shiva is fond of the Bel tree, also known as the bilwa or bilva tree, and its leaves and fruit still play a main role in his worship.
All castes (divisions) of Hindu society participate in the worship of Shiva. The ceremonies surrounding Shivratri are particularly popular with Hindu women, especially those wishing to become pregnant.
Major Temple of Lord Shiva :
Gauri Shankar Temple
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple
Omkareshwar Temple Ukhimath
Bateshwar Nath Temple
Shri Dudheshwar Nath Mandir
Shri Sthaneshwara Temple
Daksheswara Mahadev Temple
Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Trimbakeshwar Jyotilinga Temple
Somnath Jyotilinga Temple