When is Mahashivratri ?
11, March, 2021, Thursday
Mahashivratri is celebrated by Vikram Calendar on Krishna Chaturdashi of Falgun month.
Shivratri marks on the 13th/14th day of each month, one day before the new moon, so only the full moon that falls on Krishna Paksha’s Chaturdashi each month is called Shivratri. Mahashivratri is the most important of the 12 Shivratri celebrated in a year, which falls on the Krishna Chaturdashi of Falgun month, usually celebrated in February or March, depending on the planetary location.
To know when is other Indian Festivals this year you can see All Indian Festivals Calendar.
What is Mahashivratri ?
Mahashivratri is one of the most famous and most extensive among the sacred festival nights of India. Mahashivratri is a time for the Shiva tattva to celebrate. Lord Shiva’s spiritual seekers and devotees meditate and believe in the energy of Shiva. Shiva embodies our soul, and tattva is a concept or reality. It is the time of year when we rest in our soul’s truth/ theory. Is implies that we are finding the higher truths of life that lie inside us.
The word Shivratri means the night of Shiva, literally. There’s an expected energy upsurge in our physiology on that day. We have a particular sadhana in yoga to make use of this. Whether it is the person’s human body or the larger celestial body, the Pancha Bhutas or the five elements- earth, water, fire, air and space-are ultimately made of them. What you call as “myself” is just mischief of these five elements.
The festival is commonly celebrated by India’s Hindu community and some parts of Nepal, which translates to the great night of Shiva. This day is devoted to Lord Shiva, but there are many variations of the celebration of Mahashivratri. One of the most popular versions indicates that it is to celebrate Shiva and Parvati’s marriage to each other.
One of the tales, according to the Puranas, indicates something new. A pot of poison erupted from the ocean during Samudra Manthan that left every God and demon terrified as it was capable of finishing the whole planet. They sought the aid of Shiva, and Shiva drank all of the poison to shield the earth from the poison’s ill effects.
But he kept it in his throat instead of drinking it which turned his throat blue. It is how Neelkanth, the blue-throated one, earned his name. So to remember Shiva’s victory over evil, Mahashivratri is celebrated.
Why Mahashivratri is celebrated?
There are many tales and beliefs on why we celebrate Mahashivratri, according to Hindu mythology, from the emerging of Lord Shiva to the legend of Neelkanth and the marriage to Goddess Parvati.
History of Mahashivratri
On this day, Lord Shiva got married to Goddess Parvati. Lord Shiva went into meditation after the death of Sati. Sati reincarnated as Parvati to become Lord Shiva’s consort. On the 13th/14th day of the night in the Phalguna month, Mahashivratri marks Shiva and Parvati’s union.
A different story from the Puranas indicates a very different tale. Once the other two triads of the Hindu gods, Vishnu & Brahma, were engaged in a fight to decide who was higher than the two. The war became so severe that it was appropriate for other gods to come to Shiva for aid.
Shiva turned himself into a massive column of fire to make them realise how puny their strength was and stood between Brahma & Vishnu. They both tried to find every end of the fire to assert their prowess, but it was so enormous that neither was successful.
Shiva first manifested himself in the Linga form on the 14th day of the dark half of the month of Phalguna, and so this day is celebrated as Mahashivratri.
Goddess Parvati once pleaded with Lord Shiva to save the world from death, according to another theory. On the condition that its people worship him with devotion and zeal, Lord Shiva decided to rescue the earth. That is how it came to be recognised as Maha Shivratri that day. Flowers often are believed to bloom precisely the day after Maha Shivratri, hinting at the earth’s fertility.
How Mahashivratri is celebrated?
Devotees raise a three-tiered platform around a fire. ‘Swargaloka‘ (heaven) represents the top plank, the middle one ‘Antarikshaloka‘ (space) and the bottom one ‘Bhuloka‘ (earth). On the ‘Swargaloka’ plank symbolising 11 manifestations of ‘Rudra’ or destructive Rudra, held on ‘Kalash’.
These Kalash’s are decorated at the top of the structure, depicting the head of Shiva, with Belpatra (Aegle marmelos) and mango leaves and coconut. The uncut coconut shank symbolises his twisted hair, and the three spots on the fruit are the three eyes of Shiva.
Devotees wake up before sunrise on Mahashivratri and take a ceremonial bath, preferably in the holy river Ganga. Devotees then wear new clothes and pay a visit to the nearest temple of Shiva and do Jalabhishek on Shivling with six different dravyas including milk, yoghurt, honey, ghee, sugar and water. These six things are an essential part of Shivaratri; some even put some bhang on it by devotees.
After that, devotees give Shivling to Akshat, Abir, Gulal, etc. They also sell a white flower and a lotus flower. The trumpets of Devil (Datura ka Phool) and Bilwa Leaf (Belpatra) are essential; some devotees even give the Shiv ling 108, 1108 Belpatra. To cool the hot-tempered God, a few Bilwa leaves presented on top of the Shivalinga. Devotees who send the Shivlinga with devotion a trifoliate Belpatra, Lord Shiva blesses him/her with whatever the individual wants.
To mark their devotion to their beloved God, people observe the Mahashivratri Vrat. Mahashivratri Vrat is optional; it is recommended not to hold the fasts for pregnant women, girls, sick people and elderly. Some prefer the ‘Nirjala Vrat‘, i.e. where people eat no water or food during the day.
Legend speaks of Mahashivaratri as the night when Shiva dances as creation, preservation and destruction. This cosmic dance accompanies by the singing of hymns and the reading of Shiva scriptures by devotees. Mahashivaratri marks annual dance festivals at major Hindu temples in Konark, Khajuraho, Pattadakal, Modhera and Chidambaram.
Nataraja, the supreme dance deity, is another form of Lord Shiva as well. The dance forms of Lord Shiva, Tandava and Lasya, are performed in various forms in respect of God by classical dancers.