Mahashivratri, which essentially translates to ‘The Great Night of Shiva’, is considered one of the most auspicious festivals in the country. It is celebrated annually with much fervour and excitement across India. This year “Mahashivratri” will be observed on February 18, 2023. So, get ready to hear chants of ‘Har Har Mahadev’ on this day.
It’s believed that while there is a Shivratri every lunisolar month of the Hindu calendar, the Mahashivratri, happens only once every year, in February/March, when winter comes to an end and spring and summer begins.
There are different legends throughout history that describe the significance of Mahashivratri. One of them claims that Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati tied the knot on this day. Purusha (mindfulness) is embodied by Lord Shiva, whilst Prakriti (nature) is embodied by Maa Parvati. With the union of both consciousness and energy, it facilitates creation.
Another story says, during Samudra Manthan, a pot emerged from the ocean which consisted of poison. All the Gods and demons were terrified that this will destroy the entire world and so, Gods went to Lord Shiva for help.
To protect the entire world from the evil effects, Shiva drank the entire poison and held it in his throat instead of swallowing it. Due to this, his throat became blue and hence he came to be known as “Neelakantha”.
Devotees consume Satvik foods like ragi, Sabudana, fruits, and some vegetables while keeping the fast. If you’re also fasting during Mahashivratri, so look at these dos and don’ts to keep in mind while celebrating this occasion.