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In Hinduism, Shivarathri means the 'Great Night of Lord Shiva'. There are two main Shivarathris in a year which are celebrated with huge religious fervour. Masik Shivarathri celebrated in the month of Phalguna is called Maha Shivarathri. Maha Shivarathri occurs only once in a year and is considered as the favourite day of Lord Shiva.
However, Shivaratri is also observed every month. According to the Hindu calendar, the Shivarathri that falls in every month is known as Masik Shivarathri. Of the twelve Masik Shivarathris, Maha Shivarathri is considered as the holiest day and is celebrated with reverence for Lord Shiva. It is the divine night of convergence of Shiva and Shakti. Masik Shivratri will be observed on 4 January 2019.
As per the Hindus, all the sins will get washed away and they will attain Moksha by worshipping Lord Shiva on this auspicious day. Shivarathri falls on the 14th day of the dark fortnight (Amavasya) or new moon night and is a very special day for the Hindus all over the world. In order to know the importance of Masik Shivarathri, we will go a step ahead and look at all the legends associated with Shivarathri.
Emergence Of Jyothirlinga
Once, during the 14th day of Magha month, Brahma and Vishnu had a dispute to find out who is the supreme God in this whole universe. Then, Lord Shiva revealed his lingam form and showed his supremacy. We celebrate this day as Maha Shivarathri. In remembrance of this, we celebrate the Masik Shivrathri.
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Marriage Of Lord Shiva And Goddess Parvathi
It is on the day of Shivarathri that Lord Shiva married goddess Parvathi. The devotees celebrate this auspicious day by applying ashes on their forehead and preparing a drink that causes addiction called bhang.
Lord Shiva, The Neelkanth
Hindus believe that it is on the day of Shivarathri that Lord Shiva drank a poison called Halahal that surfaced during the churning of the milky ocean. Lord Shiva's throat turned blue and hence he is also worshipped as Neelkanth. This day is one of the greatest significance of Masik Shivarathri that the devotees celebrate as Shivarathri.
Tandava means the dance of destruction and preservation, and it is on the day of Shivarathri that Lord Shiva performed the Tandava Nruthya.
Now, the rituals and benefits associated with it and the importance of Masik Shivarathri.
Path Of Salvation
The devotees bathe the linga of Lord Shiva with milk, sugar, water and honey, as this signifies the purification of the inner soul. In order to purify the soul from all impurities, devotees chant the mantra - Om Namah Shivay and Mahamrintunjay jap.
Fulfilment Of Desires
Devotees offer fruits to the almighty, as this signifies the fulfilment and endurance of one's desire. As a sign of satisfaction, devotees offer betel leaves as well.
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Knowledge And Wealth
Lamps and incense sticks are lit as a signification of knowledge and as a sign of prosperity and wealth.
Inner Happiness And Satisfaction
Hindus believe that rudraksha originated from the tears of Lord Shiva and to make Lord Shiva happy, they wear the Rudraksha Mala. Also, a paste of vermilion is applied to the Shiv Linga to affirm the virtue of a person.
Long And Happy Life
Women devotees observe fast during Masik Shivarathri to please goddess Parvathi and to pray for the prosperity of the entire family.
So, pray to Lord Shiva, the supreme God, and have a blessed life.