‘Maha Shivarathri’ which also religiously known as ‘Padmarajarathri’, is one of the most popular Hindu festival which calls for a majestic celebration every year, conducted as a divine tribute to Lord Shiva. The 13th or the 14th day of the Phalguna Month based on the Hindu calendar calls for this celebration.
As a mark of respect on this auspicious day, worshippers observe fasting throughout the day and stay awake the whole night in prayers and devotion. This festival is celebrated on a grand scale in the regions of Himachal Pradesh, which is a famous tourist destination of India.
Scrolling back to the chapters of the historic past, based on the ‘Puranas’, Lord Shiva’s heroic attempt to save the world from getting destructed marked this event for celebration. When a mystical pot of poison suddenly emerged from the deadly stirring of the ocean known as Samudra Mathan, which threatened to destroy the world, Lord Shiva, accepting the ‘world saving’ requests by the Gods, held the deadly poison in his throat which made his throat blue and labeled him as ‘NilKantha’. Thus, this saving event is celebrated as Shivarathri every year as a tribute to Lord Shiva.
This festival has to be observed by the Hindus because;
- This festival is marked as a sign of gratitude and respect that is offered Lord Shiva who saved the human race from getting poisoned and destroyed.
- As per the Hindu Scriptures it is believed that ‘Sadashiv’ took the form of ‘Lingodbhav Moorthi’ at midnight on this day. Hence coronation of the phallic idol is conducted by staying awake the whole night.
- This festival is also very significant for women, as on this day they observe an all day fast offered with prayers for the longevity of their husbands.
Hence devotees make it a point to celebrate this grand occasion by joining in with Lord Shiva’s triumphant victory over destruction, through prayers and offerings.