As the word says, ‘Maha Shivrathri’ is the great night of lord Shiva and is considered one of the renowned days based on the Indian spiritual calendar. As said, this auspicious day is dedicated to lord Shiva, the prime part of the holy trinity, including the creator, Brahma, and lord Vishnu.
But do you know why and how is Maha Shivrathri celebrated? If not, then this blog will help you. Running down, you will get an overview of Maha Shivrathri and its importance. But before jumping onto it, let's view some beliefs based on lord Shiva.
Suggested Reads: Who is the Most Powerful God? 5 Deities in Hinduism
Lord Shiva- The Supreme Being of The Universe
Among the Hindu trinity, lord Shiva is considered the prime deity of Hinduism. Being said to be the lord of destruction, lord Shiva’s unique attributes, symbolism, and characteristics are well-known among the devotees. With in-depth meaning and value, he is symbolized by factors like the third eye, moon, ashes, serpent, and more. He is considered a source of knowledge and wisdom and has the power to destroy or transform the world.
Also Read: Who are lord Shiva's father and mother?
Why do we celebrate Maha Shivrathri? Historical Significance
As said before, the Maha Shivrathri is a festival associated with lord Shiva. However, there are significant stories based on ancient texts and Hindu mythologies related to the festival.
Most people consider Maha Shivrathri to commemorate the divine wedding of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Even though there is a lot of importance for Maha Shivrathri, devotees celebrate this auspicious day as the holy union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Goddess Parvati is an embodiment of feminine energy who married lord Shiva through her unflattering devotion towards him. So, people consider Maha Shivrathri the right time to remember their divine love and union through enormous rituals and processions.
Other than this significance, there is a prime reason that is considered the significance of Maha Shivrathri. The churning of the ocean is said to be the prime reason for the Maha Shivrathri. According to the Hindu mythologies, once gods and demons were searching for the nectar of immortality by churning the ocean.
During the churning of the ocean, an enormous number of gifts emerged, including a pot of poison. Knowing this pot of poison would destroy the world, the gods gave this pot of poison to lord Shiva. He sacrificed and drank the poison to save humankind. The poison transformed his throat into blue, called a Neelkantha.
In addition, people also celebrate the Maha Shivrathri festival to commemorate the divine dance of lord Shiva, i.e. Tandava, signifying the destruction, creation, and more. Devotees remember his dance and stay awake the whole night to honour and worship lord Shiva for blessings.
How to Celebrate Maha Shivrathri?
Being a perfect blend of spirituality and devotion, devotees carry out various practices and customs, highlighting the significance of the auspicious day.
Fasting and Prayers
Like many other festivals, fasting is a common practice of Maha Shivrathri. Many devotees chose to restrict themselves from drinking and consuming the food for the whole day. People believe in fasting to purify their bodies and mind to get closer to spirituality.
Devotees visit the temples of lord Shiva, worship the deity for blessings and participate in special rituals associated with lord Shiva. The temples are decorated with flowers.
Jagran is a special night-long vigil in which the devotees gather together in temples and stay awake the whole night to conduct rituals and worship for blessings. People recite bhajans praising lord Shiva.
Bael leaves are considered a symbol of lord Shiva’s three eyes. So, devotees choose to offer bael leaves to lord Shiva to signify his third eye.
In the Maha Shivrathri festival, devotees conduct Rudra Abhishek, which means bathing the Shiva Linga with various offerings from milk to honey in a spiritual way.
Is there any connection between Holi and Maha Shivrathri?
Maha Shivrathri and Holi are two different festivals playing a significant role in Hinduism. But in some regions of India, these festivals are interconnected to each other. Maha Shivrathri symbolizes the beginning of the Holi festival. Considering the season, Maha Shivrathri signifies the adaptation of winter to spring. Whereas, the Holi festival is about welcoming spring wholeheartedly. So, both these festivals are considered to be a similar seasonal transition. As per regions of north India, the day following the festival Maha Shivrathri is considered and celebrated as Holi.
Let's Celebrate the Next Maha Shivrathri Joyously
Addressing profound spirituality, Maha Shivrathri is a festival that has crucial importance in Hindu belief. The festival reminds actions, stories and role of lord Shiva in Hindu mythologies. People chose this day to remind him as a divine dancer, lord of destruction and a legacy of spirituality.
The festival enriched with spirituality and culture is celebrated with great joy following the traditions. Even though the celebration of Maha Shivrathri might vary from palace to place in India, the intention of the festival to experience spirituality remains the same. Let’s choose this moment to explore more about lord Shiva and Maha Shivrathri to welcome the festival with great joy next time.