Maha Shivratri is celebrated on the 13th night and 14th day of the month of Maagh according to Hindu calendar. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is the celebration of the convergence of the forces of Shiva and Shakti. This year the Hindu festival will be celebrated on February 21, Friday. As per religious beliefs, there is a Shivratri every luni-solar month of the Hindu calendar, however, the Maha Shivratri, or the ‘great night of Shiva’ happens once every
On this auspicious day, devotees visit temple early morning after taking bath. Milk, water and fruits are offered to shivling. Shiva temples across the country are flooded with devotees. A sort of celebration takes place along with the distribution of prasad. Ujjain is one of the places where a huge gathering takes place to have a glimpse of 'mahakaal'. Many young ladies observe fast on Shivratri so that they can be blessed with a loving husband like Shiva.
Having said that, one should not forget that milk, water and bel patra are integral part of maha shivratri. We have seen our mothers and grandmothers offering these to shivling during the puja. On this day, we will tell you why milk form an important part of Shivratri pujan.
It is believed that Lord Shiva perform ‘tandava’ on Shivratri. For those unversed, tandava is a dance that depicts the cycle of creation and destruction of the universe. In order to calm Shiva, he is offered soothing ingredients like milk and honey. Another story is that on this day samudra manthan took place and to save the world Lord Shiva swallowed the jar of poison. It turned his throat blue and there came the name 'Neelkantha'. To soothe his throat, ingredients like honey, milk and curd are offered on the shivling.
There is also a reason why people stay awake on Shivratri. After Lord Shiva drank the venom, gods were advised to keep him awake during the night. Hence they kept a vigil over him and performed dance and music all night to amuse Shiva. When the day broke out, Lord Shiva, pleased with their devotion blessed them all.