Maha Shivaratri is a festival celebrated in India by the devotees of Lord Shiva. It is commonly known to the world as “The Great Night Of Shiva”. The day before the new moon or the 14th day of every lunar month is known as Shivratri. However, Maha Shivaratri only occurs in February/March and is of great significance not just to Hindu’s but also devotees of Lord Shiva spread across the world.
So, how is Maha Shivaratri celebrated? Well, devotees of Lord Krishna observe a strict fast to show their devotion to the Lord himself. This is of course accompanied by prayers dedicated to Lord Shiva that are chanted within the boundaries of Shiva temples spread across the country.
That being said, the “vrat” or “fast” is considered to be the biggest part of the celebrations. Like with any fast, there is always confusion around what can & can’t be consumed. Which is why, we at My Pooja Box decided to list out the rules for Lord Shiva’s dedicated devotees.
Here are the rules you need to follow this Maha Shivaratri-
1. Early Morning Bath/Shower
It is advised to begin this auspicious day with an early morning bath using warm water & black sesame seeds. This practice is said to help cleanse your body of any impurities so that one can begin the fast fresh & clean.
2. Visiting A Temple In Honor Of Lord Shiva
After one’s bath is complete, they are advised to wear new clothes that have been washed, dried & straightened. The devotees then make their way to a Shiva temple of their choice. Once at the temple, the devotees begin by bathing the Shiv Ling in milk & honey. This is accompanied by singing devotional songs & chanting “Om Namah Shivaya”.
3. What You Can’t Eat
It is strictly advised to stay away from rice, pulses or wheat. Eating any food item based in and around the previously stated foods will result in a failure of your fast.
4. What You Can Eat
If one is not practicing the “nirahar vrat”, he/she can eat the “Shivratri Vrat foods”. This includes eating fruits, drinking tea, coffee & milk. If however, you find yourself committing a 100%, then you should abstain from these too otherwise it would result in a broken fast.
5. How To Correctly Break The Fast
The fast is only to be broken after the Pooja is complete. The best & most ritualistic way to break the fast is by consuming roti’s made from singhare ka atta & saubat dana kheer. Sendha namak is to be used while cooking the previously stated foods. This is considered the most holy way to go about your fast.
6. Offerings To The Lord
It is also common practice to make food offerings to Lord Shiva. It is advised to prepare the following dishes – lauki ka halwa, thandai etc to be used as offerings.
While the origins of this ancient Hindu festival are unknown, we do know the rules to follow while fasting. So, if you want to bring yourself & your loved one’s good luck and get rid of all darkness for 2019, simply follow the above rules while maintaining your fast. Lord Shiva is sure to appreciate it & honor you and your family with his blessings.