How to Celebrate Mahashivratri
Wondering how to celebrate Mahashivratri? Similarly to what we did when we explained the importance of Guru Purnima, in this article we’ll cover everything, from how to do Mahashivratri Puja to how to worship Lord Shiva on Mahashivratri. Let’s see how to celebrate Mahashivratri.
What is Mahashivratri
Before we see how to celebrate Mahashivratri and how to worship Lord Shiva on Mahashivratri, let’s see what this is all about.
Mahashivratri is a Hindu festivity. It consists of a great celebration dedicated to the Lord Shiva in the Phalguna (end of February – early March) month.
Everybody can celebrate Mahashivratri, but yogis and those following a spiritual path regard Mahashivratri as one of the year’s most significant days. Many devotees fast and stay up all night to worship Lord Shiva. Also, to ensure that their husbands live longer, married women do a full day fast and anoint Lord Shiva with water, honey, and milk.
The Shivaratri festival is celebrated across various parts of India with different traditions and rituals, so how to worship Lord Shiva on Mahashivratri might differ according to the region. Generally, devotees visit Shiv temples in the early morning, and before afternoon complete their Shiva Linga prayer. People also offer the God fruits, Bilal leaves, and dhatura.
We will now see how to do Mahashivratri puja, how to worship Lord Shiva on Mahashivratri, and how to celebrate Mahashivratri at home.
How to Worship Lord Shiva on Mahashivratri
It is believed that Lord Shiva is hot-tempered, so devotees make sweet and calming offerings such as milk, fruit, ber, and sandalwood to the Linga to cool the Lord’s temper. There is a stampede in the large temples, and devotees get blessings from the God.
Worshiping Shiva on Mahashivratri is mostly done through a special puja. In the following chapter we’ll see how to do Mahashivratri Puja.
How to celebrate Mahashivratri
Here’s how to celebrate Mahashivratri according to various religious scriptures:
- On the day of Shivratri, you should get up early in the morning and take a bath. Sesame seeds should be added to the water, which is believed to purify the body and soul.
- Observe a fast for the entire day and break it the day following Shivratri.
- The Mahashivratri fast is quite hard. You may have some milk and fruits during the day, but if you’d like to follow the stricter Mahashivratri puja, you shouldn’t eat or drink anything – including water – for the entire day. If you are also wondering what you can eat on Diwali, see the list of Diwali dietary restrictions.
- If you can, stay up all night and get together with other devotees.
- Take a bath again before going to the temple for the prayer.
Let’s now see how to do Mahashivratri puja and how to worship Lord Shiva on Mahashivratri
- As per ancient scriptures and texts, you need different elements such as ghee, sugar, rose water, milk, sandalwood, and honey, for the prayer. The Mahashivratri prayer can be offered 1 ro 4 times throughout the day.
- You should perform prayers following four prahars (time units). During the first prahar use water for abhishek; for the second prahar use curd; ghee for the third; and abhishek with honey for prayer during the fourth prahar.
- After abhishek, you should decorate the Shiva Linga with bilva leaves garlands as those are the leaves that are known to calm the Lord.
- After having decorated the Shiva Linga with the bilva garlands, Chandan, dhup, and kumkum are applied to the linga. Bhasm, Vibhuti and Madar flower are also offered.
- You should chant the Om Namah Shivay mantra during the entire Puja.
- Break your fast on the day following Mahashivratri, after bathing, but before the Chaturdashi ends.
How to Celebrate Mahashivratri at Home
If you are not able to go temple, you should know how to celebrate Mahashivratri at home
- In the days preceding Mahashivratri, make a Shiva Linga from mud, clay, or stone
- Observe the ritual bath and fast as explained in the previous chapter
- Decorate Shiva Linga with bilva leaves garlands
- Offer ghee, milk, fruit, ber, and sandalwood
- Apply Chandan, dhup, and kumkum to the lingam
- Perform the Mahashivratri prayer following the four prahars
- Chant the Om Namah Shivay mantra
- The following day take a bath and break the fast
Mahashivratri is an important Hindu celebration. Whether you go to the temple or celebrate Mahashivratri at home, it’s important to know how to celebrate this festivity in order to keep the tradition alive. How do you celebrate Mahashivratri in your family? Leave us a comment!