Maha Shivratri 2024: Date, history, significance and celebrations - Hindustan Times

Maha Shivratri 2024: Date, history, significance and celebrations of the Hindu festival

By, New Delhi
Mar 07, 2024 03:12 PM IST

Maha Shivratri 2024: One of the most important Hindu festivals, Maha Shivratri, is celebrated with great enthusiasm. Know its history and significance.

Maha Shivratri, the grand night of devotion and fasting for Lord Shiva devotees, has almost arrived. One of the most important Hindu festivals, the festival is celebrated with great fervour and enthusiasm across the country with slightly varying traditions. On this day, devotees observe a day-long fast, meditate, visit Shiva temples, recite mantra and prayers and perform rituals associated with Lord Shiva worship. The festival is the time to purify body, mind and soul and for fresh beginnings. Observing a day-long fast on Mahashivratri is of great spiritual significance as it is equivalent to worshipping Shiva the entire year and can also help one attain salvation and get rid of all sins. Observing this vrat can help one progress on path of inner peace and spirituality and achieve all worldly goals too. (Also read | Shukra Pradosh Vrat in March coincides with Maha Shivratri 2024: Date, rituals, auspicious timing, significance)

Maha Shivratri 2024 date: This year, the festival is being observed on March 8, 2024, Friday.(Freepik)
Maha Shivratri 2024 date: This year, the festival is being observed on March 8, 2024, Friday.(Freepik)

Maha Shivratri 2024 Date

Maha Shivratri is most important of all Masik Shivratris that are observed every month. The festival falls on the fourteenth day of the dark (waning) half of the lunar month of Phalguna or Magha, a day before the new moon. This year, it is being observed on March 8, 2024, Friday.

Maha Shivratri 2024 history

There are many legends associated with the observance of the festival that range from sacred union of Shiva and Parvati to the tale of Lord Shiva consuming the Halahala poison, each adding depth to the significance of this auspicious observance. As per one legend, Maha Shivratri is the night when Shiva performed the heavenly dance of creation, preservation and destruction. It is believed that Lord Shiva consumed Halahala poison produced during Samudra Manthan to save the world. Since he held the poison in his neck, it turned blue and he came to be known as Neelkantha. However, the most popular legend remains the one that describes Lord Shiva's union with Mata Parvati. Legend has it that Goddess Parvati, in her various incarnations, performed intense penance to win affection of Lord Shiva.

Finally, impressed by her devotion and perseverance, Shiva agreed to marry Parvati and this divine union is celebrated as Maha Shivratri.

Maha Shivratri 2024 significance

The significance of the festival is greater than what's popularly known. Fasting during Maha Shivratri helps overcome ignorance and atain self-realisation. By reflecting on its true nature, the soul attains salvation from the chakra of birth and death. Observing this fast with sincerity can help absolve past sins and negative karma and give one a new direction in life. Thus, Maha Shivratri is an opportunity to introspect and renew one's connection with the divine to evolve spiritually.

Maha Shivratri 2024 celebration

Maha Shivratri is widely popular across the country and the chants of Om Namah Shivay reverberates throughout the night, creating an atmosphere charged with devotion, spirituality, and divine energy. From Kashmir to Tamil Nadu, the festival is celebrated with unique traditions and great dedication by Hindus. From melas, jagratas to day-long fast, devotees pray and connect with Lord Shiva in their own way. It is common for devotees to pray all night and participate in jagrans as it is believed this can help overcome darkness and ignorance. Lord Shiva is offered belpatra, dhatura, milk, fruits, sweets among other things as the devotees observe a day-long fast from sunrise to sunset. Maha Shivratri finds mention in ancient texts like Skanda Purana, Linga Purana, and Padma Purana.

While people in Odisha organise Jagara, in Gujarat Maha Shivratri mela is held. In Punjab, Shobha Yatras are organised by various Hindu organisations Unmarried girls observe a fast in Odisha and West Bengal to get a suitable husband and for a blissful married life.

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