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Shivratri, one of the biggest festivals of the year, is celebrated on the fourteenth day in the month of Falgun. Lord Shiva's devotees gather in large groups on this day in Shiva temples across the country.
They offer their prayers in the temple along with a number of other offerings. Shivratri is known as Lord Shiva's night.
Maha Shivratri 2019
There is one Shivratri in every month. The fourteenth day of every month during Shukla Paksha, is known as Shivratri. However, the one falling during the Falgun month if Hindu Calendar is known as Maha Shivratri. This year Maha Shivratri will be observed on 4 March 2019. The day becomes more auspicious as it falls on a Monday. Monday is believed to be the most auspicious day to worship Lord Shiva.
Many Stories Are Associated With Maha Shivratri
Many stories go behind the day being considered so important. Since many great events in the mythological history of India took place, so the day becomes more significant.
While Lord Shiva got married to Goddess Parvati on this day. It is said that the day when Lord Shiva drank the Halahal poison during Samudra Manthan was also a Shivratri day. Also, the woodcutter named Lubdhaka was saved by Lord Shiva on the night of Shivratri. The most popular story is that in which Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu had an argument as to who is the mightiest in the universe.
Lord Shiva intervened between both and all three concluded that none of them is the mightiest, it is their union of the three which is the most powerful. This story is often narrated on this auspicious day with little variation from region to region.
Maha Shivratri Vrat Vidhi, Puja Vidhi
The devotees should get up early during Brahma Muhurat and take bath.
Fill a copper vessel (used to offer water to Shivlinga) with water.
Add a spoonful of water in it, and a spoonful of gangajal as well.
Add some jaggery in it. You can take sugar if jaggery is not available.
Now take a tray. Keep a Diya with wick prepared and ghee added in it.
Take some white coloured flowers.
Take berries and any four more fruits. You can cut them or keep them as a whole in the tray.
Now offer the water in the copper vessel to Lord Shiva on Shiva Linga. Thereafter, light the Diya. Then offer water the flowers and then the fruits to Lord Shiva. The same offerings are then made to Nandi, the bull of Lord Shiva.
Here it is important to note that devotees are not supposed to drink or eat anything. Even water should also be consumed only after performing these rituals. Cereals should not be consumed on the day of Shivratri. Fruits along with Sawak should be consumed as the meal of the day. This meal has to be eaten after the noon and sometime before sunset. Sawak is offered to Lord Shiva as Prasad first. Thereafter it us eaten by the devotee. It can also be distributed among others.
Offering food to an ox or bull on thus day is considered auspicious.
This fast can be observed by anybody, and people of all age groups. It can be observed for the fulfillment of any wish. While young boys and girls observe it in order to get a good life partner, students for a successful career and married people for a happy householders life.