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  • Maha Shivratri

    Maha Shivratri, translated as the great night of Shiva, is a festivity observed once every year to honour the God Shiva. Among the dualist Tantric Shaiva exegetical traditions, the festival is referred to as Har-Ratri or Herath for simplicity. There is a Shivaratri in every solar-luni month of the Hindu calendar system. This starts on the 13th night and continues to the following day. Each year towards the end of the winter season, just before the arrival of spring, Maha Shivratri is celebrated.

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    It is a significant event in the Hindu religion, this particular festival is characterised by solemnity and is meant to signify the triumph over darkness and ignorance in the world and in life itself. The festival is commemorated through fasting, yoga, chanting prayers and remembrance of Shiva. Believers also meditate on virtues and ethics like the discovery of Shiva, forgiveness, honesty and self-control.  Truly passionate devotees remain awake for the entire night. Others may embark on pilgrimages to jyotirlingas or pay a visit to one of the temples of Shiva.

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    Festivities

    The celebration includes the maintenance of a Jagran, a vigil and prayer for the entire night because Hinduism marks it a period of transcendence from ignorance and darkness in the world and in one's self through Shiva. Devotees make offerings of milk, fruits, sweets and leaves to the god Shiva, some take part in fasting with a Vedic worship of Shiva. In temples dedicated to Shiva, the revered mantra of Shiva is recited for the whole day. The Maha Shivaratri festival actually lasts for three or ten days depending on the Hindu solar-luni calendar.

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    Significance

    Scholars believe that Maha Shivaratri was the day that Shiva consumed the world's poisonous negativity to save it from destruction. This festival is mentioned in many ancient Indian texts especially the Linga Purana and Skanda Purana. These texts present varying explanations for the festival, but all call for reverence and fasting in remembrance of Shiva. There are different legends that explain the importance of the Mahashivratri festival.

    According to Shaivism, it marks the day that Shiva performed the celestial dance of preservation, destruction and creation. The sacrifices and prayers offered by worshipers join with this dance and commemorate Shiva everywhere. Another legend suggests that the festival marks the night that Parvati was wed to Shiva. A third account states that making sacrifices and offerings serves as atonement for previous sins and creates a new chance for individuals to walk a path of virtue so that they can reach liberation.

    Poompuhar wishes all our readers a very blessed Maha Shivratri. Check out our collection to select your favourite Shiv Pratima to celebrate this auspicious festival.

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