Maha Shivaratri 2023 falls on 18 of February
Shivaratri, also spelled as Shivarathri or Maha Shivaratri , is a Hindu festival that is celebrated especially through out India and Nepal in honour of Lord Shiva. Lord shiva, one of the most important deities in Hinduism who is considered as the destroyer of evils. The word "Shivaratri" literally translates to "the great night of Shiva," and it is observed on the 14th night of the new moon during the Hindu month of Phalguna, Tamil month of Maasi (February/March).
The significance of Shivaratri can be traced back to ancient times, with many legends and myths surrounding the festival. One popular legend is that it marks the day when Lord Shiva performed the Tandava, a cosmic dance that represents the cycle of creation and destruction. Another legend states that it is the night when Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati were married.
The festival is celebrated by Hindus all over the world, and it is considered to be one of the most important festivals in the Hindu calendar. On this day, devotees of Lord Shiva observe fasting and perform rituals such as puja (worship) and abhisheka (anointing the deity with milk, honey, and other offerings). Many people also visit temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and offer prayers and offerings to the deity.
One of the most important rituals of Shivaratri is the Rudra Abhisheka, which involves anointing the lingam (the phallic symbol of Lord Shiva) with milk, honey, and other sacred liquids. This ritual is believed to purify the mind and body and bring blessings from Lord Shiva. Many people also perform the Rudra Homa, a fire ritual that involves offering oblations to Lord Shiva and chanting mantras.
In addition to the religious rituals, many people also participate in cultural activities such as music and dance performances, which are organised to celebrate the festival. One of the most popular forms of dance that is performed during Shivaratri is the Tandava, a dance that symbolises the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva. Many people also listen to devotional music and recitations of the Shiva Purana, a sacred text that tells the story of Lord Shiva.
Shivaratri is also a time for spiritual reflection and self-improvement. Many people use the occasion to meditate, chant mantras, and perform yoga to purify their mind and body. It is believed that observing fasts and performing spiritual practices on this day can help one to attain spiritual upliftment and blessings of Lord Shiva.
In recent years, the festival has gained popularity among non-Hindus as well, as it is seen as a day for spiritual reflection and self-improvement. Many people from other religions also visit temples and participate in the rituals and cultural activities associated with the festival.
In conclusion, Shivaratri is a Hindu festival that is celebrated annually in honour of Lord Shiva. It is observed on the 14th night of the new moon during the Hindu month of Phalguna and it is considered to be one of the most important festivals in the Hindu calendar. The festival is marked by fasting, puja, and abhisheka, as well as cultural activities such as music and dance performances. It is also a time for spiritual reflection and self-improvement, with many people using the occasion to meditate, chant mantras, and perform yoga.