Meaning of Maha Shivratri
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The festival of Shivartri is celebrated in the honor of Lord Shiva on the thirteenth or fourteenth day during the month of February or March (Phaguna). Maha Shivratri means “the big night of Lord Shiva” and during the entire night devotees worship Lord Shiva. It was this day of Maha Shivratrti when Lord Shiva got married to Goddess Parvati. People observe fast on the day of Maha Shivratri and perform several Shivratri rituals and traditions to worship Lord Shiva. Early in the morning people take a bath and wear new clothes. Temples are visited by people to worship Shiv lingam and make offerings of milk, rose water, honey, bael leaves, curd and fruits, as it is believed that each offering made to the shiv lingam has its own meaning and the Shiv lingam itself is a symbol of fruitfulness. The meaning of the offerings made to Lord Shiva is given below:

  • Sanitization of the soul is represented by a bath given to the Shiva lingam with rose water, milk, honey and bael leaves.
  • Vermilion paste applied to the Shiv lingam is symbolic of a good feature.
  • Offering of fruits made to the Shiv lingam represents long life and fulfillment of desires.
  • Prosperity is produced by the burning of incense sticks.
  • The lighting of the lamp means achievement of knowledge.
  • Offering of piper betel leaves portrays happiness.

Temples face a large crowd of people as the devotees visit the famous temples of Lord Shiva all over India on the festival of Maha Shivratri. People observe fast during the day and in the night they worship Lord Shiva and recite Shiv chailsa, aarti along with other prayers and in the morning they open their fast. “Om Namah Shivaya” is the line that is repeated by the devotees several times during the day. There are several legends that are associated with the celebrations of Maha Shivratri and therefore people perform several rituals and traditions on this festival.

Women observe the fast of Shivratri with immense believe, as it is said that married women observe the fast for the well being of their family and unmarried girls observe fast for a good husband like Lord Shiva.


Posted by Rajiv on Monday, February 23, 2009 at 10:22-AM under Hinduism and Religions
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