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Maha Shivratri 2020: Know The Date, Timing, Rituals And Significance Of The Festival

Maha Shivratri is one of the most important and ancient festivals celebrated among Hindus. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva who is considered to be formless and timeless and is one among the Holy Trinity i.e., Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh (Lord Shiva). Every year Maha Shivratri is celebrated on the 14th night of waning moon, in the Hindu month of Phalgun. This year Maha Shivratri will be celebrated on 21 February 2020. In order to know the auspicious Muhurata and significance, please scroll down the article.

Maha Shivratri 2020: Things To Do And Avoid On This Festival

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Muhurata Of Maha Shivratri

The Muhurata for Nishita Kaal Puja will begin from 12:09 am (22 February 2020) and will end at 1:00 am (22 February 2020). Nishita Kaal is believed to be the time when Lord Shiva first stepped on mother Earth in the form of Shivlinga (the mystic idol of Lord Shiva). This time period is usually less than an hour and during the midnight.

The Chaturdashi Tithi will be from 05:20 pm on 21 February 2020 to 07:02 pm on 22 February 2020.

The Muhurata for the first Ratri Prahar Puja will be from 06:15 pm to 09:25 pm (21 February 2020).

The second Ratri Prahar Puja will begin from 09:25 pm and will last till 12:34 am (22 February 2020).

The third Prahar Puja Muhurata will be from 12:34 am (22 February 2020) to 03:44 am (22 February 2020).

The fourth Ratri Prahar Puja Muhurata will be from 03:44 (22 February 2020) am to 06:54 am (22 February 2020).

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Story Behind Maha Shivratri

Though there are 12 Shivratri in a year (one in each month), the one celebrated in the Hindu month of Phalgun is considered to be the greatest and hence is known as Maha Shivratri.

One of the most famous stories about the reasons behind celebrating Maha Shivratri is the marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It is believed that Lord Shiva got married to Goddess Parvati on this day and thus, the festival is celebrated widely among the Hindus. Also, this is the day when Lord Shiva came in his form of Chandrashekhar (the one who has a crescent moon on his head).

It is said that when Goddess Parvati's mother Menavati saw Lord Shiva in his actual form wearing a tiger skin, having a snake around his neck and his body covered in ash, she fainted. In fact, his followers were too wearing tiger and deer-skin with their whole body smeared in ash. It was then decided that Lord Shiva should be dressed to look like an ideal groom. Hence, Lord Vishnu went ahead to give a new look to Lord Shiva with splendid ornaments and clothes. Pleased by Lord Shiva's new look, Lord Vishnu requested the crescent moon to adore Lord Shiva. Hence, Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati in his Chandrashekhar form on Maha Shivratri.

Another story about Maha Shivratri is that in order to gain the divine Amrit (nectar), once God and the demons went ahead for Samudra Manthan (meaning churning of the ocean). The two groups wanted to drink the nectar and become immortal. But the first thing that emerged from the churning of ocean was Halahal, a mighty poison. The halahal had to be consumed by someone, else it would destroy the entire universe.

Therefore, everyone pleaded Lord Shiva to help them. Lord Shiva then went ahead to consume the poison but he kept it in his neck so that not a single drop enters into his stomach. Due to this, his neck turned blue. It was a Shivratri on the day, Lord Shiva consumed the poison.

In order to express gratitude to Lord Shiva for protecting the world from halahal, devotees started observing Maha Shivratri.

Also read: Here's The Reason Why You Must Not Offer Turmeric To Lord Shiva

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Puja Vidhi For Maha Shivratri

  • One must wake up early in the morning and take a bath after going through the daily routine.
  • Make sure you wear clean clothes after taking bath.
  • Take a Sankalp (pledge) to observe the fast with austerity and determination.
  • After this prepare Panchamrit, a kind of offering prepared through five foods that are mainly milk, curd, ghee, honey and jaggery. You can also add some dried fruits in it. Give a bath to Shivlinga by the Panchamrit you prepared.
  • Now bath the Shivlinga using Kesar mixed water.
  • Offer Bel Patra (Bael leaves), Dhatura, Bhaang, vermilion and fruits to Lord Shiva.
  • Light an incense stick and oil lamp in front of the Shivlinga.
  • While you head for the Ratri Puja, make sure you bath once again and wear clean clothes.
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Significance Of Maha Shivratri

  • The word Maha Shivratri means 'the great night of Lord Shiva'.
  • Devotees believe that observing a fast on this day and worshipping Lord Shiva can help them in pleasing God.
  • Devotees observe fast for the whole day and break their fast the next day, after taking bath and worshipping Lord Shiva.
  • In case, a girl wants to marry a man of her choice, she can observe a fast on this day and ask Lord Shiva to bless her with the love of that man.
  • On this day, several temples are decorated and special puja is held to celebrate the union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Also, they express their gratitude to Lord Shiva for protecting the world.
  • Many devotees perform various Abhishekam (a special kind of puja that involves cleaning and purification) to Lord Shiva using Ganga Jal, Milk, Honey, water, sugar cane juice, etc.
  • Those who are facing conflicts in their families can also worship Lord Shiva and observe a fast on this day.
  • On this day, people stay awake throughout the night and worship Lord Shiva.
  • It is believed that worshipping bull and ox on this day brings prosperity to one's life.

Also read: Maha Shivratri 2020: Worship Lord Shiva According To Your Zodiac Sign

We hope Lord Shiva blesses you with prosperity, knowledge, wealth and health.

Har Har Mahadev!!!

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