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ਮਹਾਂ ਸ਼ਿਵਰਾਤਰੀ (Punjabi) ମହା ଶିବରାତ୍ରି (Odia) মহা শিবরাত্রি (Bengali) महा शिवरात्रि (Sanskrit) மகா சிவராத்திரி (Tamil) മഹാ ശിവരാത്രി (Malayalam) ಮಹಾಶಿವರಾತ್ರಿ (Kannada) మహా శివరాత్రి (Telugu) મહા શિવરાત્રી (Gujarati)

Observed by Hindus
Hindus
in Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Mauritius, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana

Type Religious

Significance self study, Marriage of Shiva
Shiva
and Parvati, yoga[1]

Observances Fasting, yoga, all night vigil, worship of Lingam[1]

Date February 24

2017 date 24 February (Friday) [2]

2018 date 13 February (Tuesday)[3]

2019 date 4 March (Monday)[4]

Frequency Annual

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Maha Shivaratri
Shivaratri
a Hindu festival
Hindu festival
celebrated annually in honour of the god Shiva. There is a Shivaratri
Shivaratri
in every luni-solar month of the Hindu
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
Shivaratri
which means "the Great Night of Shiva".[5][6] 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
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.[6] The ardent devotees keep awake all night. Others visit one of the Shiva
Shiva
temples or go on pilgrimage to Jyotirlingams. This is an ancient Hindu festival
Hindu festival
whose origin date is unknown.[6] In Kashmir Shaivism, the festival is called Har-ratri or phonetically simpler Haerath or Herath by Shiva
Shiva
faithfuls of the Kashmir region.[7][8]

Contents

1 Description 2 History and significance 3 In India 4 In Nepal 5 Outside South Asia 6 See also 7 References 8 External links

Description[edit]

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
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
Shiva
is not only outside of us but within us. To unite ourselves with the One Self is to recognize the Shiva
Shiva
in us.

—The Theosophical Movement, Volume 72[9]

Maha Shivaratri
Shivaratri
is an annual festival dedicated to the Hindu
Hindu
god Shiva, and is particularly important in the Shaivism
Shaivism
tradition of Hinduism. Unlike most Hindu festivals
Hindu festivals
which are celebrated during the day, the Maha Shivaratri
Shivaratri
is celebrated at night. Furthermore, unlike most Hindu festivals
Hindu festivals
which include expression of cultural revelry, the Maha Shivaratri
Shivaratri
is a solemn event notable for its introspective focus, fasting, meditation on Shiva, self study, social harmony and an all night vigil at Shiva
Shiva
temples.[6] The celebration includes maintaining a "jaagaran", an all-night vigil and prayers, because Shaiva
Shaiva
Hindus
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
Shiva
are made, some perform all-day fasting with vedic or tantric worship of Shiva, and some perform meditative Yoga.[10] In Shiva
Shiva
temples, "Om Namah Shivaya", the sacred mantra of Shiva, is chanted through the day. Maha Shivaratri
Shivaratri
is celebrated over three or ten days based on the Hindu
Hindu
luni-solar calendar.[5] 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 the month Phalguna (Magha). According to the Gregorian calendar, the day falls in either February or March.[5] History and significance[edit]

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
Shivaratri
was the day when Shiva
Shiva
drank poisonous negativity to protect the world. The Maha Shivaratri
Shivaratri
is mentioned in several Puranas, particularly the Skanda Purana, Linga Purana
Linga Purana
and Padma Purana. These medieval era Shaiva
Shaiva
texts present different mythologies associated with this festival, but all mention fasting and reverence for icons of Shiva
Shiva
such as the Lingam.[6] Different legends describe the significance of Maha Shivaratri. According to one legend in the Shaivism
Shaivism
tradition, this is the night when Shiva
Shiva
performs the heavenly dance of creation, preservation and destruction.[11][12] 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 Shiva
Shiva
and Parvati
Parvati
got married.[11][13] A different legend states that the offering to Shiva
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 liberation.[11] The significance of dance tradition to this festival has historical roots. The Maha Shivaratri
Shivaratri
has served as a historic confluence of artists for annual dance festivals at major Hindu
Hindu
temples such as at Konark, Khajuraho, Pattadakal, Modhera and Chidambaram.[14] 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
Hindu
text of performance arts called Natya Shastra.[15][16] Similarly, at Khajuraho Shiva
Shiva
temples, a major fair and dance festival on Maha Shivaratri, involving Shaiva
Shaiva
pilgrims camped over miles around the temple complex, was documented by Alexander Cunningham in 1864.[17] In India[edit] Main article: Mandi Shivaratri
Shivaratri
Fair

Mahasivaratri is observed at night, usually in lighted temples or specially prepared prabha (above).

The major Jyotirlinga
Jyotirlinga
Shiva
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.[18]

The Mandi fair is in the town of Mandi is particularly famous as a venue for Maha Shivaratri
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 periphery.[19][20][21] Maha Shivaratri
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 Shiva
Shiva
and Parvati.[7][8] Central India
India
has a large number of Shiva
Shiva
followers. The Mahakaleshwar Temple, Ujjain
Ujjain
is one of the most venerated shrines consecrated to Shiva
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
Seoni
are two other places where the festival is celebrated with much religious fervour.[citation needed] In Punjab, Shobha Yatras would be organised by various Hindu organisations in different cities. It is a grand festival for Punjabi Hindus. In Gujarat mahashivratri mela is held at Junagadh where bathing in the Damodar Kunda is considered holy.According to myth Lord Shiva
Shiva
himself comes to bath in the Damodar kunda. Maha Shivaratri
Shivaratri
is celebrated widely in the temples all over Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.[citation needed] In Nepal[edit] Maha Shivaratri
Shivaratri
is a National Holiday in Nepal
Nepal
and celebrated widely in temples all over the country, but especially in the Pashupatinath temple. Thousands of devotees visit the famous Shiva
Shiva
Shakti
Shakti
Peetham 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
Shiva
is also worshipped as the Adi Guru
Guru
(first teacher) from whom the yogic tradition originates.[22] Outside South Asia[edit] Maha Shivaratri
Shivaratri
is the main Hindu festival
Hindu festival
among the Shaiva
Shaiva
Hindu diaspora from Nepal
Nepal
and India. In Indo-Caribbean
Indo-Caribbean
communities, thousands of Hindus
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.[23] In Mauritius, Hindus
Hindus
go on pilgrimage to Ganga Talao, a crater-lake.[citation needed] See also[edit]

Pradosha Rudraksha Vibhuti Rudra Linga

References[edit]

^ a b Melton, J. Gordon (2011). Religious Celebrations: An Encyclopedia of Holidays, Festivals, Solemn Observances, and Spiritual Commemorations. ABC-CLIO. pp. 541–542. ISBN 978-1-59884-206-7.  ^ Govt of Odisha India, 2017 Holidays, "Maha Shivarathri 2017".  ^ February 2018 Marathi Calendar Panchang ^ When is Maha Shivaratri
Shivaratri
In 2019 ^ a b c Dalal, Roshen (2010). Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books. pp. 137, 186. ISBN 978-0-14-341421-6.  ^ a b c d e Constance Jones; James D. Ryan (2006). Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Infobase Publishing. p. 269. ISBN 978-0-8160-7564-5.  ^ a b Brunn, Stanley D. (2015). The Changing World Religion Map: Sacred Places, Identities, Practices and Politics. Springer. pp. 402–403. ISBN 978-94-017-9376-6.  ^ a b Maitra, Asim (1986). Religious Life of the Brahman: A Case Study of Maithil Brahmans. Munshilal. p. 125. ISBN 978-81-210-0171-7.  ^ "Shiva". The Theosophical Movement (reprint). TEOS, Theosophy Company, Mumbai. 72 (4): 137. 2002 [February 1962].  ^ Mahashivaratri Archived 27 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine., Government of Orissa; Maha Shivaratri, Public Holidays ^ a b c Dhoraisingam, Samuel S. (2006). Peranakan Indians of Singapore and Melaka. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. p. 35. ISBN 978-981-230-346-2.  ^ Om Prakash Juneja; Chandra Mohan (1990). Ambivalence: Studies in Canadian Literature. Allied. pp. 156–157. ISBN 978-81-7023-109-7.  ^ Leuthold, Steven (2010). Cross-Cultural Issues in Art: Frames for Understanding. Routledge. pp. 142–143. ISBN 978-1-136-85455-2.  ^ Pintchman, Tracy (2007). Women's Lives, Women's Rituals in the Hindu Tradition. Oxford University Press. pp. 194–195. ISBN 978-0-19-803934-1.  ^ Pintchman, Tracy (2007). Women's Lives, Women's Rituals in the Hindu Tradition. Oxford University Press. pp. 194–196. ISBN 978-0-19-803934-1.  ^ Pugh McCutchen, Brenda (2006). Teaching Dance as Art in Education. Human Kinetics. p. 450. ISBN 978-0-7360-5188-0.  ^ Shobita Punja (1999). Khajuraho: the first thousand years. Penguin Books. pp. 71–74.  ^ Eck, Diana L. (1982). Banras, City of Light. Knopf. pp. 113, 256, 276.  ^ "International Shivaratri
Shivaratri
fair in Mandi". Himachal tourism. Archived from the original on 14 April 2010. Retrieved 8 February 2012.  ^ "The International Festival". Archived from the original on 1 April 2009. Retrieved 7 February 2010.  ^ "Mandi -The Seventh Heaven". Archived from the original on 10 April 2011. Retrieved 7 February 2010.  ^ "Mahashivaratri – The Night of Lord Shiva". Explore Himalaya. Retrieved 23 February 2009.  ^ "Trinidad Hindus
Hindus
observe Shivratri amid Carnival Celebration". Repeating Islands. Retrieved 31 August 2016. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Shivaratri.

The New Indian Express explains why and how Maha Shivaratri
Shivaratri
is celebrated Maha Shivaratri
Shivaratri
celebrations in the USA by The Pluralism Project

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