Mahashivaratri is the famous Hindu festival celebrated each year in reverence of Lord Shiva, the Hindu God of Destruction and Destroyer of Evil. The sacred day is observed to mark a remembrance of ‘overcoming darkness and ignorance’ in life and the world. Unlike most festivals, it is celebrated at night and is a solemn event.
Mahashivaratri is the night when Shiva is said to have performed the Tandava Nritya, or the dance of primordial creation, preservation, and destruction. According to believers, this saved the world from destruction.
The planetary positions on this night are such that there is a powerful natural upsurge of energy in the human system. It is believed that staying awake all night on this holy event is hugely beneficial for one’s physical and spiritual wellbeing. Devotees across the nation visit temples of Lord Shiva, practice fasting, and chant ritual mantras all night.
When is Mahashivaratri celebrated?
Mahashivaratri is celebrated on the 13th night and 14th day of every lunar month. The Shivaratri in the month of Falgun (Phalguna) – the last month of the Hindu calendar – is Maha Shivaratri, which means “the Great Night of Shiva.” It takes place just before Spring’s arrival, usually in February or March in the Western calendar.
This year’s Mahashivaratri will fall on March 11.
How is Mahashivaratri celebrated?
The holy night is celebrated across India and is also observed by the Hindu population of Mauritius, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. The festival is principally celebrated by offering Bael (Bel Tree) leaves to Lord Shiva, all-day fasting, and an all-night-long vigil.
The sacred mantra of Shiva, “Om Namah Shivaya,” is chanted all day and night in Shiva temples. Special pujas are held across homes and temples throughout the nation.