Why and how Shivratri is celebrated in India
India is a country of diversity. A lot of festivals are celebrated in India. The main aim of these festivals is to bring people closer to the divine power and encourage them to have better relations with their fellow Indians.
Shivratri is one of the most important festivals for Hindus in India. Lord Shiva who is considered as the Destroyer, is worshiped in this festival. The devotees across the country observe fast on this day and visit temples to perform special rituals often known as “Shivratri Poojan”.
Shivratri means the “night of Lord Shiva ”. There are a number of legends that revolve around the celebration of this auspicious day.
The Shravan Month and importance of Shravan Shivratri
Shravan which is the fifth month of the Hindu calendar falls between the month of July and August. From the astrological point of view, the Shravan month begins when the Sun sign enters Leo sign. Shravan is considered the most important month for the worshipers of Lord Shiva. The Shravan Shivratri which falls in the month of Shravan is highly regarded.
There are a lot of reasons for which people worship Lord Shiva during this time period. The farmers pray in Shravan for good crops, regular rains, and prevention from diseases and droughts.
The unmarried women keep fast during this month on every Monday to seek Lord Shiva’s blessing for a desired good life partner.
Married women, on the other hand, keep fast for the good health of spouse. The devotees also pray to get rid of debts and overall good health of the family.
It is believed that those who pray and perform Pooja on the day of Shravan Shivratri become dear to Lord Shiva and find salvation from the sins they have committed. Many devotees perform night long Pooja as well.
The followers of Nath Sampradaya keep 40 days long fast during Shravan month and eat only satvik food once a day during this time period.
It is believed that Lord Shiva is easy to please and those who keep fast and perform pooja during this month get blessings from Lord Shiva for better health and prosperity. Lord Shiva Images is also available on many websites.
The stories behind Shivratri
1. One of the most famous legends suggests that Lord Shiva got remarried to Goddess Parvati on this auspicious day. Goddess Parvati is considered the reincarnation of Sati who was the first wife of Lord Shiva.
Parvati observed strict penance to please Lord Shiva and asked him to marry her and the wish was granted on this very day. Thus the women in India keep fast on this day for the better health of their spouse or to get a good match.
2. The second legend suggests that on this day Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati combined their powers and become one and Lord Shiva performed Tandav on this day.
3. The third legend suggests that on this very day Lord Shiva drank the deadly poison which was known as Halahal that was obtained during the Samudra Manthan of the Milky Ocean.
When the poison came out of the ocean it started killing every form of life on the earth and to save the planet form the ultimate death, Lord Shiva drank the poison and held it in his throat.
4. The fourth Legend suggests that River Ganga came to earth on this day to bless the dead. The force of Ganga was too much for the earth to handle and to save the planet Lord Shiva tied Ganga in his hair and let only a small stream out. Taking a dip in Ganga during Shravan month is considered highly auspicious.
How is Shivratri celebrated?
The festival goes on for one day and night. The devotees offer milk, sweets, flowers, and prayers to the Shiva Lingam and seek his blessings.
The lingam is bathed in a mixture of milk, honey, and water. After then the devotees offer vermilion, fruit and betel leaves to the lingam. Look at the Maha Shivaratri Image