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Maha Shivratri 2019: History, Importance and Significance of Maha Shivratri festival in India

Maha Shivratri 2019: Maha Shivratri, also known as the 'Great night of Lord Shiva' is celebrated in various forms depending on the perspective. Here's the history, importance and significance behind Maha Shivratri.

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: March 4, 2019 10:56:31 pm
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Maha Shivratri 2019: The Hindu festival of Maha Shivratri is observed by with much fervour across the country. Maha Shivratri, is being celebrated on March 4 this year, falls once a year during the months of February and March. However, Shivratri falls on the 14th day of each month of the lunar calendar. Maha Shivratri, also known as the ‘Great night of Lord Shiva’ is celebrated in various forms depending on the perspective.

History Behind Maha Shivratri

Maha Shivratri celebrations are associated with several stories about Lord Shiva, who is also known as ‘The Destroyer’ within the Hindu trinity. Generally, Maha Shivratri is celebrated as the anniversary of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, but there are many other stories in various texts and scriptures describing why Maha Shivratri is celebrated.

According to Puranas, Shivratri is celebrated as the day Shiva saved the world from the pot of poison that emerged during the great mythical churning of the ocean called Samudra Manthan.

Yet another story goes on to say that Shivratri maks the day Brahma and Vishnu got involved in an argument about their supremacy. It is believed that an angry Lord Shiva punished them by taking the form of a massive fire that spread across the length of the universe. Vishnu and Brahma then got into the race to find the end of the fire and prove their prowess. However, Brahma is believed to have resorted to a lie, and angered Shiva greatly who cursed that no one would ever pray to him.

In the Shivaism tradition, this is the night when Shiva performed the glorious dance of creation.

Importance and Significance of Maha Shivratri

On this day, followers of Lord Shiva observe the special Maha Shivratri vrat (fast). Devotees throng Shiva temples across the country, perform late evening puja, offer milk to the Shivaling and also pray for moksha. Many spend the night chanting verses and hymns in praise of Lord Shiva. Women also pray to be blessed with a good husband and a happy married life. Some temples even organise fairs and other cultural programmes on this day.

Shivratri has a great significance for the Kumbh Mela also. The festival marks the end of the mega holy event which is celebrated after every 12 years. This year, the ongoing Ardh Kumbh Mela will end on March 4 when devotees will take the last holy dip on the auspicious day.

It is believed that the people who fast on this day and offer prayers to Lord Shiva are blessed with good luck. The most popular Maha Shivratri celebrations take place in Ujjain, which is believed to be the most sacred abodes of Lord Shiva. Large processions are carried out throughout the city, with people thronging the streets to catch a glimpse of the revered idol of Lord Shiva.

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