When is Maha Shivaratri 2012 – Well the Date for Maha Sivaratri 2012 is Monday 20th February.
Maha Shivaratri(महा शिवरात्रि) is also known as the “Night of Shiva”. It is celebrated in praise of Lord Shiva. It occurs on the 14 night of the moonless day of the new moon in the month of Phalgun, which happens to be sometime in February – March according to the English calendar.
Legends of Mahashivaratri
It is considered to be the auspicious occasion when Lord Shiva and Parvati got married. Some believe that Lord Shiva performed the tandava on this night. This is the dance of preservation, primal creation and destruction. Another legend is based on Linga Puranan, which states that Lord Shiva manifested himself in the form of linga. Hence, this is considered to be an auspicious day and is celebrated as Mahashivaratri.
Celebration of Mahashivarathri
The celebration takes place all throughout the night. The bells of the temple ring loudly and “Om Namaha Shiva” is read loudly. Hymns and devotional songs in praise of Lord Shiva are sung. The devotees perform Jagaran, staying awake the whole night. They fast the whole day and break the fast only in the morning hours. Shiva temples are thronged by people and it is difficult to get a glimpse of the Lord Shiva.
Ritual of Maha shivaratri
Day and night fast is held. Some go on diet of fruits and milk, whereas others do not even consume a drop of water. The fast ends by taking Prasad (religious food offering) the next morning. Devotees feel that worshipping Lord Shiva sincerely would rid them of the cycle of birth and death. For women this is a sacred day. Married women pray for the well-being of their husbands and unmarried woman seek a husband like Lord Shiva.
Devotees wake up early and have their ritual bath, preferably in the river Ganges. Then they wear new clothes and visit the Shiva temple to give bath to the Shiva Lingam with honey, milk and water etc. Sandalwood paste is applied on the linga. Priests give the Shiva Lingam the ritual bath with milk, water and honey every three hours.
Mahashivaratri is the day when Lord Shiva is worshipped in all sincerity for prosperity and well-being. Devotees visit the Shiva temple to seek the Lord’s blessings. The rituals are performed very religiously on this occasion.