Maha Shivratri, also spelled Mahashivratri or Maha Sivaratri, is one of the most famous Hindu festival associated with Lord Shiva and is celebrated on the 9th night/10th day in the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) during the month of Phalguna (February or March) every year.
Maha Shivaratri, the Great/Grand Night of Lord Shiva is being celebrated this Wednesday, the 10th of March, 2013, in Mauritius and worldwide.
There are several legends and stories which relate to the celebration of this festival. Some people believe that Maha Shivratree marks the wedding ceremony of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Others believe that, it was on this day that Lord Shiva consumed the pot of poison that emerged during the Samudra Manthan, to protect the world.
While yet others believe that it was on this day that Lord Shiva came out of the Shiva Linga declaring himself as the most powerful since neither Lord Vishnu nor Lord Brahma could measure its length after the challenge set before them in order to settle their argument about who is more powerful.
Maha Shivratri fasting is of utmost importance for Lord Shiva devotees. According to Purana, if Maha Shivratree Vrat (fast) is kept with pure devotion then the devotee will attain moksha.
How to fast for Maha Shivratree
* Devotees bath with water that is boiled with black sesame seed to wash away body impurities.
* Many devotees go on diet of fruits and milk.
* Some devotees do not consume even one drop of water throughout the day and night of Shivratree.
Food For Maha Shivratree
* Devotees abstain from food made with rice, pulses or wheat.
* Devotees may eat fruits.
* Devotees may drink milk, tea or coffee.
How to break the fast?
* Devotees break the fast in the evening by eating roti made of singhare ka atta.
* Desert made of sago: sabut dana kheer is served.
* Deity are offered dishes like potato pumpkin pancakes, lauki ka halwa, thandai etc.
Merits of Maha Shivratree fast
Maha Shivratree fast helps the devotee to control two great natural forces which affect man and they are:
* Rasjas Guna (quality of passionate activity)
* Tamas Guna (quality of inertia).
It is believed that when the devotee is going to spend an entire day immersed in prayers, his emotions like lust, anger and jealousy will be controlled. Devotee observing Shivratree with sincerity is absolved from all sins. Pious Maha Shivratri to everyone.