Mahashivratri celebrated today across India to worship Lord Shiva - the "destroyer of evil". Mahashivratri, a festival of of convergence of Shiva and Shakti. Mahashivratri is also called the "the great night of Shiva" and comes just before the arrival of Spring season. Mahashivratri is not for celebrations and merry-making but to worship Lord Shiva, introspect and become meditative. Lord Shiva, depending on his various qualities, have been recognised and called by several names: Maheshwara, Shambhu, Soma, Shashvata, Parameshwara and others. Mahashivratri date keeps changing every year as it is related to the lunar calendar. Next year in 2020, the grand festival will be observed on February 21. It is also spelt as Shivratri, Shiva Ratri, Shivarathri and Sivaratri. In Kashmir Shaivism, the festival is called Har-ratri or Herath. There are several legends around Mahashivratri festival.
Significance of Mahashivratri
Mahashivratri marks a remembrance of "overcoming darkness and ignorance". According to a legend, Maha Shivaratri was the day when Shiva drank poisonous negativity to protect the world. Another legend says that it is the night when Shiva performs the heavenly dance of creation, preservation and destruction, while some believe that this is the night when Shiva and Parvati got married.
How is Mahashivratri Observed:
On Maha Shivaratri day, after finishing morning rituals devotees observe full day fast and take food the next day. They also practicing yoga, meditation and self-restraint. The ardent devotees keep awake all night, also called "jaagaran".
Pilgrimage to Jyotirlingams are also common on this day. People head to Lord Shiva temples to pray and pay respect.
The major Jyotirlinga Shiva temples of India - in Varanasi and Somnatha - are frequented on Maha Shivaratri by the Shiva devotees. It is also celebrated in the temples all over Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.
Mahashivratri Muhuruta and Puja Timings:
According to drikpnchang.com, the Nishita Kaal Puja Time is 12:14 am to 1:03 am. The duration will be 49 minutes.
Maha Shivaratri Parana Time will be 6:49 am to 3:33 pm.
Ratri First Prahar Puja Time = 6:28 pm to 9:33 pm
Ratri Second Prahar Puja Time = 9:33 pm to 12:38 am
Ratri Third Prahar Puja Time = 12:38 am to 3:44 am
Ratri Fourth Prahar Puja Time = 3:44 am to 6:49 am
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