Mahashivratri is a Hindu festival that celebrates Lord Shiva, one of the most important gods in Hinduism. The festival falls on the 13th night/14th day of the Hindu month of Phalguna, which usually corresponds to February or March in the Gregorian calendar. This year, Mahashivratri will be celebrated on March 11th, 2023.
The word "Mahashivratri" literally means "the great night of Lord Shiva". On this night, Hindus observe a fast and perform puja (worship) to Lord Shiva to seek his blessings and protection. The festival is also considered a time for spiritual purification and renewal.
Do's on Mahashivratri:
Fast: Many Hindus observe a fast on Mahashivratri, abstaining from food and drink for the whole day. This is seen as a way to purify the body and mind, and to bring the devotee closer to Lord Shiva.
Puja: Performing puja to Lord Shiva is an important part of the festival. This can involve offerings of fruit, flowers, and incense, as well as the recitation of prayers and mantras.
Chanting: Chanting the name of Lord Shiva, either alone or in a group, is considered a powerful way to connect with the divine and receive blessings.
Meditation: Some devotees choose to spend the night in meditation, focusing their minds on Lord Shiva and contemplating his nature and qualities.
Visit Temples: Visiting Shiva temples is a common practice on Mahashivratri. This is a great opportunity to connect with other devotees and share in the collective energy of the festival.
Don'ts on Mahashivratri:
Avoid non-vegetarian food: Non-vegetarian food, including meat and eggs, is generally avoided on Mahashivratri, as it is seen as a way to purify the body and mind.
Avoid intoxicants: Intoxicants, such as alcohol and drugs, are also typically avoided during the festival, as they can interfere with spiritual practices and disrupt the mind.
Avoid anger and negativity: Mahashivratri is a time for spiritual renewal and connection with the divine, so it is important to avoid negative attitudes and actions that can interfere with this process.
Importance of Mahashivratri for Hindus:
Lord Shiva: Lord Shiva is considered one of the most important gods in Hinduism, and is worshipped for his ability to bring about destruction and renewal, as well as for his power to bestow blessings and protection.
Spiritual purification: Mahashivratri is seen as a time for spiritual purification and renewal, when Hindus can let go of old negative patterns and attitudes, and start fresh with a positive, spiritual outlook.
Collective energy: The festival is a time for the Hindu community to come together, share in the collective energy of devotion, and connect with the divine.
In conclusion, Mahashivratri is an important festival for Hindus, providing an opportunity for spiritual purification, renewal, and connection with Lord Shiva. By observing the do's and avoiding the don'ts of the festival, Hindus can deepen their connection with the divine and receive blessings and protection.