When is Maha Shivratri? What’s the date of observance in 2018? Looking for Maha Shivaratri information? We have got you covered!
Shivratri is an auspicious day dedicated to ‘Devon Ke Dev’ Mahadev aka Lord Shiva. People all over India rejoice Shivratri festival with great fervor. It is observed on the fourteenth night of the new moon. It falls in the Hindu month of Phalgun that usually comes in between February and March.
Shiva bhakts or devotees influx the nearest Shiva temple in the honour of Lord Shiva. Are you one of the devotees chanting “Har Har Mahadev” to please God Shankar? Here in this blog we are going to tell you about the importance of Mahashivratri and why is it celebrated.
Dive through the pool of knowledge and explore the Shivratri 2018 date in India with other information.
When is Shivaratri?
You need not worry about when is mahashivaratri as it’s going to be observed on Tuesday 13 February 2018.
As per Hindu calendar, the festival falls once in a year on the 13th or the 14th day. It falls during Krishna Paksha in the month of Phalgun (February-March). The celebration is rejoiced on a moonless night. Here Shiva stands for “Lord Shiva” and Ratri means “Night”. A night dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Why is Shivaratri celebrated?
The festival signifies the marriage ceremony of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. However, as per other belief of people, it is the day Mahadeva performed Tandava (aggressive form of dance).
Despite various changes around, its essence remains the same. The worshipping is performed traditionally.
Devotees do abhishekam or perform the traditional bath of the Shiva lingam with holy water (Ganga Jal), milk, ghee, honey or curd. After abhishekam, bilva leaves are offered along with fruits and flowers to Lord Shiva.
There are many fables or legends around Shivaratri festival. Let’s have a look at them one by one.
The Legend of Shiv Puran
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As mentioned in Shiva Prana, two of the trio- Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh- Brahma and Vishnu had a clash. The two had a fight over proving himself superior. The clash was intense and this made Lord Shiva afraid of a cosmic war between Brahma and Vishnu. He intervened by creating a huge column of fire. He did it to made them realize that none of them is superior and it’s futile to fight over.
However, Brahma and Vishnu had a mindset to explore the topmost end of this fire. Vishnu came into Varaha avatar and went inside the earth to find the lowermost end while Brahma took the form of a swan to go upwards.
Both of them couldn’t find the end despite their continuous efforts. Hence, they both decided to came back.
Lord Brahma, while going upwards met a Ketaki flower floating downwards. Brahma asked her from where did she appear. The flower told Him, she came from the top of the fire column. Brahma kept the flower as a witness and decided to end his journey.
This made Lord Shiva furious. He cursed Brahma that nobody would ever adulate him. That’s why, you won’t find any temple dedicated to Brahma except Rajasthan’s Pushkar temple. Bhagwan Shankar also banned Ketaki flower from being offered to deity during pooja.
Since Lord Shiva intervened as a pacifier between Brahma and Vishnu, the day is observed to honour Him.
The Story of Neelkantha
Here is another story for why Maha Shivaratri is celebrated. According to this story, during the churning of the ocean (Samundramanthan) appeared the pot of poison (Halahal Vish). No Gods and Demons dared to stop Halahal from destroying the world from its harmful effects but Lord Shiva. He drank the poison and while it was on its way to enter His body, Goddess Parvati suppressed it in His neck. This turned Lord Shiva’s throat blue. This is when Lord Shiva was called Neelkantha.
Since then, the day became famous as Shivaratri.
The Fable of Hunter
As per another fable, there was a hunter. While he was on hunt, he couldn’t find anything to kill animals for his food. As it was dark, he decided to spend the whole night on Bel tree. He also didn’t want to fall down from the tree. So to keep himself away from sleep, he started throwing the bel leaves on the ground for amusement.
He was unaware of the fact that there was a Shivalinga under the tree. Whatever leaves, he threw, it landed on the Shivalinga. This pleased Lord Shiva, and he appeared in front of the hunter. He showered him with divine blessings and gifted him wisdom. From that night this festival came into existence.
People might have different belief and spiritual scriptures may have different account on how and why Maha Shivaratri is celebrated but the sole purpose is to adulate Lord Shiva. The day is when Shiv bhakts merry around and perform Shiv-Vivah or Shiv Marriage.
Even in many temples, Shiv-Vivah is performed and procession of the same is held. Bhakts disguise themselves as ghosts, goblins and spirit to appease Lord shiva.
Now you know why Maha Shivratri is celebrated! So, worship Mahadeva and seek His blessings!
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