Maha Shivratri is an important festival of Hinduism and celebrated extensively in India and Nepal. On this day, devotees worship Lord Shiva – an important God of trinity. The devotees revere Lord Shiva to absolve their sins of the past and help in attaining moksha. It is celebrated on the moonless night of 14th fortnight of Phalguna month according to Hindu calendar. The day is ideal for devotees to worship Lord Shiva as it is believed that date is fixed by himself when asked by his consort, Goddess Parvati. This is why devotees go to temple to perform rituals with dedication and attain blessing of the Lord.
The devotees keep fasting day and night to show reverence to Lord Shiva. The Shiva linga is given sacred bath with milk, honey, water, etc as a part of the ritual. It is an important occasion for women as married or unmarried girls line up in temple to worship Lord Shiva with devotion. The married women pray for marital bliss while unmarried girls pray to get ideal husband like Shiva. It is believed that wishes of the women are granted by Lord Shiva praying on this day.
The festival has religious as well as spiritual significances. The devotees offer numerous things to Lord during the ritual. According to Shiva Purana, Shivratri ritual should consist of six items: bilva leaves, vermillon, lighting incense sticks, offering foods, and betel leaves. Each of these items signifies deep spiritual meaning and helps devotees to attain spirituality in life. It is an opportunity for devotees to show gratitude for saving the world from destruction when HE drank the dangerous poison alone without letting a drop to fall on stomach which would have annihilated the whole universe. The devotees perform “Shankar Abhishek” at midnight as in this form only he appeared on this day. It is an occasion of cleansing our souls and creates consciousness in mind to stay awake to increase spirituality. This year, Maha Shivratri will be celebrated on 17th of February 2015. Hope this important occasion will bring consciousness, peace, and happiness in your family.