ਮਹਾਂ ਸ਼ਿਵਰਾਤਰੀ (Punjabi)
ମହା ଶିବରାତ୍ରି (Odia)
মহা শিবরাত্রি (Bengali)
महा शिवरात्रि (Sanskrit)
மகா சிவராத்திரி (Tamil)
മഹാ ശിവരാത്രി (Malayalam)
మహా శివరాత్రి (Telugu)
મહા શિવરાત્રી (Gujarati)
Hindus in Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Mauritius, Trinidad and Tobago,
self study, Marriage of
Shiva and Parvati, yoga
Fasting, yoga, all night vigil, worship of Lingam
24 February (Friday) 
13 February (Tuesday)
4 March (Monday)
Part of a series on
Shiva - Shakti
Scriptures and texts
Agamas and Tantras
Non - Saiddhantika
Veerashaiva - Lingayatism
Nusantara Agama Siwa
Hindu festival celebrated annually in honour of the
god Shiva. There is a
Shivaratri in every luni-solar month of the
Hindu calendar, on the month's 13th night/14th day, but once a year in
late winter (February/March, or Phalguna) and before the arrival of
Summer, marks Maha
Shivaratri which means "the Great Night of
It is a major festival in Hinduism, this festival is solemn and marks
a remembrance of "overcoming darkness and ignorance" in life and the
world. It is observed by remembering
Shiva and chanting prayers,
fasting, doing Yoga, and meditating on ethics and virtues such as
self-restraint, honesty, noninjury to others, forgiveness, and the
discovery of Shiva. The ardent devotees keep awake all night.
Others visit one of the
Shiva temples or go on pilgrimage to
Jyotirlingams. This is an ancient
Hindu festival whose origin date is
In Kashmir Shaivism, the festival is called Har-ratri or phonetically
simpler Haerath or Herath by
Shiva faithfuls of the Kashmir
2 History and significance
3 In India
4 In Nepal
5 Outside South Asia
6 See also
8 External links
A festival of contemplation
During the Vigil Night of Shiva, Mahashivaratri,
we are brought to the moment of interval
between destruction and regeneration;
it symbolizes the night
when we must contemplate on that which
watches the growth out of the decay.
During Mahashivaratri we have to be alone
with our sword, the
Shiva in us.
We have to look behind and before,
to see what evil needs eradicating from our heart,
what growth of virtue we need to encourage.
Shiva is not only outside of us but within us.
To unite ourselves with the One Self
is to recognize the
Shiva in us.
—The Theosophical Movement, Volume 72
Shivaratri is an annual festival dedicated to the
Shiva, and is particularly important in the
Shaivism tradition of
Hinduism. Unlike most
Hindu festivals which are celebrated during the
day, the Maha
Shivaratri is celebrated at night. Furthermore, unlike
Hindu festivals which include expression of cultural revelry, the
Shivaratri is a solemn event notable for its introspective focus,
fasting, meditation on Shiva, self study, social harmony and an all
night vigil at
The celebration includes maintaining a "jaagaran", an all-night vigil
and prayers, because
Hindus mark this night as "overcoming
darkness and ignorance" in one's life and the world through Shiva.
Offerings of fruits, leaves, sweets and milk to
Shiva are made, some
perform all-day fasting with vedic or tantric worship of Shiva, and
some perform meditative Yoga. In
Shiva temples, "Om Namah
Shivaya", the sacred mantra of Shiva, is chanted through the day.
Shivaratri is celebrated over three or ten days based on the
Hindu luni-solar calendar. Every lunar month, there is a Shivaratri
(12 per year). The main festival is called Maha Shivaratri, or great
Shivaratri, and this is on 13th night (waning moon) and 14th day of
Phalguna (Magha). According to the Gregorian calendar, the
day falls in either February or March.
History and significance
Many legends explain the significance of Maha Shivaratri, one being it
is the night of Shiva's dance.
According to a few God realized Yogis, Maha
Shivaratri was the day
Shiva drank poisonous negativity to protect the world. The Maha
Shivaratri is mentioned in several Puranas, particularly the Skanda
Linga Purana and Padma Purana. These medieval era
present different mythologies associated with this festival, but all
mention fasting and reverence for icons of
Shiva such as the
Different legends describe the significance of Maha Shivaratri.
According to one legend in the
Shaivism tradition, this is the night
Shiva performs the heavenly dance of creation, preservation and
destruction. The chanting of hymns, the reading of Shiva
scriptures and the chorus of devotees joins this cosmic dance and
remembers Shiva's presence everywhere. According to another legend,
this is the night when
Parvati got married. A
different legend states that the offering to
Shiva icons such as the
linga is an annual occasion to get over past sins if any, to restart
on a virtuous path and thereby reach Mount Kailasha and
The significance of dance tradition to this festival has historical
roots. The Maha
Shivaratri has served as a historic confluence of
artists for annual dance festivals at major
Hindu temples such as at
Konark, Khajuraho, Pattadakal, Modhera and Chidambaram. This event
is called Natyanjali, literally "worship through dance", at the
Chidambaram temple which is famous for its sculpture depicting all
dance mudras in the ancient
Hindu text of performance arts called
Natya Shastra. Similarly, at Khajuraho
Shiva temples, a major
fair and dance festival on Maha Shivaratri, involving
camped over miles around the temple complex, was documented by
Alexander Cunningham in 1864.
Main article: Mandi
Mahasivaratri is observed at night, usually in lighted temples or
specially prepared prabha (above).
Shiva temples of India, such as in Varanasi and
Somnatha, are particularly frequented on Maha Shivaratri. They serve
also as sites for fairs and special events.
The Mandi fair is in the town of Mandi is particularly famous as a
venue for Maha
Shivaratri celebrations. It transforms the town as
devotees pour in. It is believed that all gods and goddesses of the
area, said to number more than 200, assemble here on the day of Maha
Shivaratri. Mandi, located on the banks of Beas, is popularly known as
the "Cathedral of Temples" and one of the oldest towns of Himachal
Pradesh, with about 81 temples of different Gods and Goddesses on its
Shivaratri is the most important festival in Kashmir Shaivism,
found in north Himalayan region of the Indian subcontinent. It is
celebrated as the anniversary of the marriage of
India has a large number of
Shiva followers. The Mahakaleshwar
Ujjain is one of the most venerated shrines consecrated to
Shiva where a large congregation of devotees gathers to offer prayers
on the day of Maha Shivaratri. Tilwara Ghat in the city of Jabalpur
and the Math Temple in the village of Jeonara,
Seoni are two other
places where the festival is celebrated with much religious
In Punjab, Shobha Yatras would be organised by various Hindu
organisations in different cities. It is a grand festival for Punjabi
In Gujarat mahashivratri mela is held at Junagadh where bathing in the
Damodar Kunda is considered holy.According to myth Lord
comes to bath in the Damodar kunda.
Shivaratri is celebrated widely in the temples all over
Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and
Shivaratri is a National Holiday in
Nepal and celebrated widely
in temples all over the country, but especially in the Pashupatinath
temple. Thousands of devotees visit the famous
nearby as well.Holy rituals are performed all over the nation. Artists
from various classical music and dance forms perform through the
night. On Maha Shivaratri, married women pray for the well being of
their husbands, while unmarried women pray for a husband like Shiva,
considered as the ideal husband.
Shiva is also worshipped as the Adi
Guru (first teacher) from whom the yogic tradition originates.
Outside South Asia
Shivaratri is the main
Hindu festival among the
Nepal and India. In
Hindus spend the auspicious night in over four hundred
temples across the country, offering special jhalls (an offering of
milk and curd, flowers, sugarcane and sweets) to Lord Shiva. In
Hindus go on pilgrimage to Ganga Talao, a
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^ February 2018 Marathi Calendar Panchang
^ When is Maha
Shivaratri In 2019
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Repeating Islands. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Shivaratri.
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