Maha Shivaratri celebration with Khabri

Multan: Maha Shivaratri, which translates to "The Great Night of Shiva" is a major Hindu festival that honours Lord Shiva, one of the principal deities of Hinduism.  It is celebrated annually between February and March, on the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight (waning moon) in the Hindu calendar month of Phalguna.  This year, Maha Shivaratri falls on  Friday, March 8th  and ends on Saturday, March 9th, 2024.

Maha Shivaratri celebration with Khabri

There are several reasons why Maha Shivaratri is celebrated. Here are a few of the most prominent reasons:

1. The Marriage of Shiva and Parvati: This is the day when Shiva and Parvati were married, according to legend.

2. Tandava Dance of Shiva:  According to another belief, on this day Shiva performed his cosmic dance, the Tandava.

3. Overcoming Darkness:  Maha Shivaratri symbolizes the triumph of good over evil as well as the triumph of light over darkness.

Devotees of Lord Shiva observe Maha Shivaratri in a number of ways.  Here are some of the most common practices:

1. Fasting: Some devotees observe a strict 24-hour fast, while others consume fruits and milk products during this period.

2. Worship: Lord Shiva is worshipped throughout the day and night by devotees with prayers and pujas.  A common practice of Hinduism is to abhisheka, or pour holy water, milk, or other offerings over Shiva Lingas (abstract or iconic representations of Shiva).

3. Jaap and Mantras: Dhyana chanters chant a variety of mantras in honour of Shiva, including the "Om Namah Shivaya" mantra.

4. Jagran:  Many people stay awake all night,  participating in prayers, singing bhajans (devotional songs), and listening to religious stories and discourses.

Maha Shivaratri is a joyous occasion that brings together Hindus from all walks of life. It is a time for spiritual reflection, devotion, and the celebration of Lord Shiva.

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