When it happens: February – March(10th March 2013)
Where it happens: All over India
Maha Shivaratri 2013 means the ‘great night of Lord Shiva’ (‘ratri’ meaning night). There are many legends associated with the celebration of this occasion.
It is said that on this day Shiva married his beloved Parvati and this festival is a celebration of their divine union.
It is also said that on this day Shiva did the “Tandava Nritya”, a form of dance depicting creation, preservation and destruction.
Another myth revolves around Shiva as the redeemer. According to the scriptures, it is believed that during ‘samudra manthan’ or the churning of the ocean, a pot of poison was tossed up from the bottom of the sea which terrified other gods (because it could wipe out everything) except Shiva, who came to the rescue. To protect the universe, he drank the poison but held it in his throat, thus turning his throat blue.
In this tradition, Shivaratri became a celebration of the day Shiva saved the world from destruction.
About the Event:
Maha Shivaratri 2013 is celebrated with great religious fervor and devotion in all of India on the 14th day of the Phalgun month of the Hindu. The devotees take a bath, burn incense, and offer flowers, fruits and ‘bilwa’ leaves to the Lord Shiva.
Devotees observe severe fasts throughout the day and night and the fast is broken only at the dawn of the next morning by eating the ‘mahaprasad’ (delicacies, fruits offered to Lord Shiva as obeisance). The devout keep a night long vigil and do not sleep. Arrangements for night long drama, dance and music dedicated to Shiva are performed.
Shiva is also worshipped in his phallic form because he was the progenitor of both Brahma (the creator) and Vishnu (the preserver). The ‘lingam’ or the phallus shaped symbol of Shiva is bathed with water, milk, honey, clarified butter, and curd throughout the occasion. This ritual is called “Abhishek.” Devotees chant “om namah Shivaya” to the sound of temple bells.
The night of Lord Shiva is going to be celebrated on March 10 next year.