Home Lifestyle Maha Shivratri 2024: History & significance  – N.F Times

Maha Shivratri 2024: History & significance  – N.F Times

Maha Shivratri 2024: History & significance  – N.F Times


New Delhi: Shiva (means auspicious) also called Mahadeva (means Great God) is the supreme god of Hinduism. And Maha-Shivaratri (Great Night of Shiva) is the most important sectarian festival of the year for Shaivites. It is the most sacred festival of Shiva that falls on the fourteenth (Chaturdashi) day of the dark half (waning phase of the moon -Krishna Paksha) of the Hindu month of Phalguna (February – March). Lord Shiva is formless, shapeless, and timeless, and one of the most revered Hindu deities. It is believed that worshipping Lord Shiva on Maha Shivratri is the easiest way to attains salvation.

Hindu devotees stay awake the entire night on this auspicious festival. They perform puja, aarti, chant Vedic mantras, Siva Chalisa, practice sadhana, and meditation. These sacred practices bestow a sense of peace and positive vibration to live a blissful life.


Maha Shivratri is most important of all Masik Shivratris. The festival falls on the fourteenth day of the dark (waning) half of the lunar month of Phalguna or Magha, a day before the new moon. This year, it is being observed on March 8, 2024, Friday.


There are many legends associated with the observance of the festival that range from sacred union of Shiva and Parvati to the tale of Lord Shiva consuming the Halahala poison, each adding depth to the significance of this auspicious observance. As per one legend, Maha Shivratri is the night when Shiva performed the heavenly dance of creation, preservation and destruction. It is believed that Lord Shiva consumed Halahala poison produced during Samudra Manthan to save the world. Since he held the poison in his neck, it turned blue and he came to be known as Neelkantha. However, the most popular legend remains the one that describes Lord Shiva’s union with Mata Parvati. Legend has it that Goddess Parvati, in her various incarnations, performed intense penance to win affection of Lord Shiva.


Finally, impressed by her devotion and perseverance, Shiva agreed to marry Parvati and this divine union is celebrated as Maha Shivratri.


The significance of the festival is greater than what’s popularly known. Fasting during Maha Shivratri helps overcome ignorance and atain self-realisation. By reflecting on its true nature, the soul attains salvation from the chakra of birth and death. Observing this fast with sincerity can help absolve past sins and negative karma and give one a new direction in life. Thus, Maha Shivratri is an opportunity to introspect and renew one’s connection with the divine to evolve spiritually.


Maha Shivratri is widely popular across the country and the chants of Om Namah Shivay reverberates throughout the night, creating an atmosphere charged with devotion, spirituality, and divine energy. From Kashmir to Tamil Nadu, the festival is celebrated with unique traditions and great dedication by Hindus. From melas, jagratas to day-long fast, devotees pray and connect with Lord Shiva in their own way. It is common for devotees to pray all night and participate in jagrans as it is believed this can help overcome darkness and ignorance. Lord Shiva is offered belpatra, dhatura, milk, fruits, sweets among other things as the devotees observe a day-long fast from sunrise to sunset. Maha Shivratri finds mention in ancient texts like Skanda Purana, Linga Purana, and Padma Purana.


While people in Odisha organise Jagara, in Gujarat Maha Shivratri mela is held. In Punjab, Shobha Yatras are organised by various Hindu organisations Unmarried girls observe a fast in Odisha and West Bengal to get a suitable husband and for a blissful married life.



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