Shivratri is celebrated on the fourteenth day of the
dark fortnight of Phalguna (February- March),
and is dedicated to the worship
of Lord Shiva, one of the principal Hindu deities. On this day the devotees of
Shiva observe fast. Maha Shivratri is the night when he is said to have
performed the Tandava Nritya or the dance of primordial creation, preservation
and destruction. The festival is observed for one day and one night only. Maha
Shivratri is universally observed by all pious Hindus with fasting, singing of
bhajans, recital of Sanskrit shlokas, offering of prayers, flowers, fruits and
food that is specially prepared in honor of the deity and his divine consort,
METHODS TO PERFORM PUJA
Devotees get up early and take a ritual bath, preferably in the holy waters of
river Ganga to perform the Shivratri puja.
This is followed by worship to Sun God, Vishnu and Shiva in harmony with the
purification rite observed on all-important Hindu festivals.
Devotees then attire themselves in fresh new clothes and pay a visit to the
nearest Shiva temple.
Many devotees even observe fast on this day. Some do not consume even a drop
Milk, yoghurt, honey, ghee, sugar and water (panchamrit) is offered to the
Shivlinga. A vermilion paste is applied on the Linga as it represents virtue.
These six items form an indispensable part of Shivaratri
Following this, Bel Patra leaves, is kept on top of the Shivalinga. Ber or
jujube fruit is also offered to Lord Shiva, as it is symbolic of longevity and
gratification of desires. Some devotees also offer the auspicious betel leaves
to Lord Shiva marking satisfaction with worldly pleasures.
Garlanding of Linga with flowers and garlands is also a part of the ritual
Shivaratri Puja. Devotees also burn incense sticks as is said to yield wealth.
Many also light diyas to symbolize attainment of knowledge. It is said that by
offering water, hugging the Linga, lighting the diya and incense and ringing
the temple bells, devotees call into focus all their senses, making them
acutely aware of themselves and the universe to which they belong.
This ritual worship of Lord Shiva continues through the day and night of
Shivaratri. Devotees stay awake and spent the night in Shiva temples by
chanting 'Om Namah Shivaya' and singing hymns and verses in praise of Lord
Shankar. Devotees observing fast on Shivaratri break it only the next morning
by taking prasad offered to Lord Shiva.
WHEN IS SHIVRATRI in 2009 ?
Mahashivaratri will fall on 23rd Feburary on Thursdsay in 2009
Why We Celebrate Shivratri
Maha Mrityunjay Mantra
108 Names Of Shiva