Maha Shivratri is being celebrated on 11 March this year. This festival is celebrated because many devotees believe that Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati got married on this day. Shivaratri is an amalgamation of two words, Shiv and Ratri, where Shiv means ‘Lord Shiva’ and Ratri means Night. Shivratri is known as the night of Lord Shiva.
Every year it is celebrated on the Chaturdashi Tithi of Krishna Paksha in ‘Magha’ month. As per Hindu mythology, today, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati got married. To mark their union, the whole nation celebrates MahaShivaratri. On this day, devotees fast for the whole day and perform puja and Rudra Abhishek. Devotees all over the world go deep in the worship of Lord Shiva and dedicate songs and mantras to him. People also believe Lord Shiva consumed vish and held it in his throat. That poison turned his neck blue and that’s why people also call him ‘Neelakanth’. People also believed that worshipping Lord Shiva fulfils the wishes of his devotees.
Today on the occasion of Maha Shivratri, thousands of devotees throng to Har Ki Pauri ghat in Haridwar, Uttrakhand to take a holy dip in the early hours of the day. Also, priests at Mahakaleshwar temple in Ujjain offer prayers and perform ‘shiv abhishek’ on the occasion of MahaShivratri. Streets outside the Kashi Vishwanath Temple are blocked by hundreds of devotees as they queue up for ‘darshan’ earlier this morning. Also, devotees in Gorakhpur arrived in a huge number to offer prayers to Mahadev on the occasion of Maha Shivratri.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to share greetings with people of the country on the occasion and said, “Greetings on the special occasion of MahaShivaratri. Har Har Mahadev”. As per the North Indian calendar, Masik Shivratri in the month of Phalguna is known as Maha Shivratri. However, it is celebrated by the entire nation with happiness and zeal in the Chaturdashi Tithi during Krishna Paksha in the month of Magha.
Shivaratri Vrat is popular since ancient times. As per the scriptures even Goddess Lakshmi, Indrani, Gayatri, Saraswati Savitri, Sita, Parvati, Rati observed Shivaratri fast. On Maha Shivratri, unmarried women observe this fast to get married and married women observe this fast to maintain peace and tranquillity in their married life. However, devotees, who want to observe Masik Shivaratri Vrat, can start it from Maha Shivaratri day and continue it for a year. Shivaratri is celebrated over three or ten days based on the Hindu lunisolar calendar. Every lunar month, there is a Shivaratri (12 per year). The main festival is called Maha Shivaratri, or great Shivaratri, which is held on the 13th night (waning moon) and the 14th day of the month of Phalguna.