Essay on Shivaratri Festival, Its Importance, Celebration in India

In this article, you will read an Essay on Shivaratri Festival, Its Importance, Celebration in India.

Maha Shivaratri

Maha Shivaratri is a Hindu festival celebrated annually in honor of Lord Shiva and, most importantly, the day when Shiva’s marriage is completed. Every lunisolar month of the Hindu calendar, there is a Shivratri on the 13th night / 14th day of the month. Still, once a year at the end of winter (February / March, or Fagan) and before the advent of summer, Maha Shivaratri refers to “the great night of Lord Shiva”. 

Importance

It is a significant festival in Hinduism, and the celebration is solemn and commemorates the “overcoming of darkness and ignorance” in life and the world.

It is observed by remembering Lord Shiva by praying, fasting, and meditating on morals and virtues such as self-confidence, honesty, and harm to others, forgiveness and the discovery of Lord Shiva. The great devotees stay awake all night. Others visit one of the Shiva temples or take a pilgrimage to the Jyotirlingas. It is an ancient Hindu festival whose date of origin is yet unknown. 

In Kashmir Shaivism, the festival is called Har-night or acoustically pure Heart or Heart by the Shiva devotees of the Kashmir region. 

Description

Most Hindu festivals are celebrated in the daytime in India; Maha Shivaratri is an exception which is celebrated at night.

The celebration includes “Jagaran”, nightly vigil and prayers, as Saiva Hindus mark this night as “overcoming darkness and ignorance” in one’s life and world. Lord Shiva offers fruits, leaves, sweets and milk offerings, some fasting all day with Lord Vedic or Tantric worship, while others practice meditation. In Shiva temples, “Om Nama Siva”, the sacred mantra of Lord Shiva, is chanted all day. 

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Maha Shivaratri is celebrated in three or ten days based on the Hindu Luni-Solar calendar. Every lunar month, there is one Shivaratri (12 per year). The main festival is called Maha Shivaratri or the Great Shivaratri, which takes place on the 13th night (the waning moon) and the 14th day of the Phalguna month. In the Gregorian calendar, the day comes in February or March. 

Maha Shivaratri and Tantra

Maha Shivaratri is considered the day when the Adigogi or the first teacher awakened his consciousness to the physical level of existence. According to Tantra, during this conscious phase, the real experience does not occur, and the mind is transcended.

Meditation transcends time, space and reason. It is considered the brightest night of the soul when the yogi attains the state of nullity or nirvana; the next stage of samadhi or illumination. 

In India

Maha Shivaratri at Annamalai temple in Thiruvannamalai district is celebrated with much fanfare in Tamil Nadu. The particular process of worship today is ‘Girivalam’ / Giri circling, 14-foot barefoot walks around the temple of Lord Shiva at the top of the hill. At sunset, a large lamp of oil and camphor is lit on the mountain – not to be confused with the Karthigai lamp. 

The major Jyotirlinga Shiva temples in India, such as Varanasi and Somnath, are frequent during Maha Shivaratri. They also serve as sites for festivals and special events. 

In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, it takes place at Malliah Gutta near Kambalapalli, Gundlakamma Kona near Railway Kodur, Kandalakona, Bhairavkona, and Uma Maheshwaram. Immediately after Shivratri, one of the 12 Jyotirlinga places is celebrated as Brahmots at Srisailam.

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Mahashivaratri celebrations are held at the 1000 pillar temple of Rudreswara Swamy in Warangal. Devotees gather for special poojas at Srikalahasti, Mahanandi, Yaganti, Antarvedi, Kattamanchi, Patisima, Bhairavakona, Hanmakonda, Kisaragutta, Vemulawada, Panagal, and Kolanapukka. 

The Mandi Festival in Mandi town is famous as a venue for Maha Shivaratri celebrations. It will change the city as the devotees pour out. It is believed that all the deities in the region are more than 200 and will gather here on Maha Shivaratri day. Located on the banks of the Beast, Mandini is known as the “Cathedral of Temples” and one of the oldest towns in Himachal Pradesh, with 81 temples of various deities and deities on its edge. 

In Kashmir Shaivism, Maha Shivaratri is celebrated by the Brahmins of Kashmir and is called “Heart” in Kashmiri, the Sanskrit word for “Hararatri” is derived from “Hara night” (another name for Lord Shiva). For example, Shivaratri is considered the most important festival of the society. They celebrate the Triadashi or Phalguna month (February-March) on the thirteenth day of the dark half and not on the fourteenth or fourth day of the country. 

The reason is that the festival is celebrated for a full fortnight, is associated with the appearance of Bhairava (Shiva) as Jwala-Linga or Jwala Linga. It is described in tantric texts as Bhairavotsava, in which Bhairava and Bhairavi, his power or cosmic power, are proposed by Tantric worship. 

According to the legend of the origin of religion, the lingam was seen as a fiery column at dawn or dusk, and the sons born to Mahadevi’s mind were Vatuku Bhairava and Rama (or Ramana) Bhairava. But it failed miserably to find its beginning or end. Excited and terrified, they began to sing its praises and went to Mahadevi, merging with her awe-inspiring flame-lingam. 

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Both Goddess Vatuka and Ramana are blessed by the fact that men worship them and that they will receive their offerings on that day, and those who adore them will fulfill all their wishes. Here, Veduka Bhairava emerges from a watery mound and Mahadevi takes a glance at it fully armed with all his weapons (and even Rama).

Then he is represented by a wet pile in which walnut is placed for soaking and worshipping Lord Shiva, Parvati, Kumara, Ganesha, their Gnas or Attendant deities, Yoginis, and Kshe Rapalalu (caretaker’s quarters) – All images are represented in the soil. The soaked walnuts are then delivered to Nivea. 

Central India has a large number of Shiva followers. Mahakaleshwar Temple is one of the most sacred shrines for Lord Shiva, where a large number of devotees congregate to offer prayers on the day of Maha Shivaratri. Tilwara Ghat in Jabalpur city and Jeonara, the Math Temple in the village of Seoni, are two other places where the festival is celebrated with great religious fervor. 

Various Hindu organizations in different cities organize Shobha Yatras in Punjab. It is a great festival for Punjabi Hindus. 

In Gujarat, the Maha Shivaratri Mela is held at Junagadh where bathing in the Mrigi Kund is considered sacred. According to legends, Lord Shiva comes to bath at Murgi Kund. In West Bengal, Maha Shivaratri is practiced by unmarried girls who seek a suitable husband and often visit Tarakeshwar.