shivaratri

Shivaratri 2015

Auspicious festival of Mahashivaratri falls on the 13th or the 14th night of the new moon during Krishna Paksha in the Hindu month of Phalgun. This is the period of waning moon or the dark fortnight and Phalguna corresponds to the month of February - March in English Calendar. Shivaratri Festival is celebrated on a moonless night.

According to Hindu mythology, Shivaratri or ‘Shiva’s Great Night’ symbolizes the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati.

Many however, believe, Shivaratri is the night when Lord Shiva performed the Tandava Nritya - the dance of primordial creation, preservation and destruction.

Celebrating the festival in a customary manner, devotees give a ritual bath to the Lingam with the panchagavya - milk, sour milk, butter and dung.

Celebrations of Shivaratri Festival mainly take place at night. Devotees of Lord Shiva throng Shiva temples across the country and spend ‘the Night of Lord Shiva’ by chanting verses and hymns in praise of the Lord.

The festival holds special meaning for the ladies. They pray to Goddess Parvati also called ′Gaura′, the giver of ′suhag′ for good husbands, marital bliss and a long and prosperous married life.

Happy Shivaratri!

By K.Nagori

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(All images courtesy of AP/AFP/Reuters.)

Today is the Hindu festival of Shivaratri (formally, Maha Shivaratri, with many alternate spellings), a formal day of worship of Lord Shiva, one of the three central deities of Hinduism.  Shivaratri is celebrated by Hindus across the world, from India to Nepal to Indonesia to Trinidad & Tobago to the US.  Here are a few images from temples this year.