As the country gears up to welcome spring, one cannot overlook the enthusiasm for all the spring festivals that are in the offing. Mahashivratri, one of the most widely celebrated Hindu festivals, falls on 21st February this year. Dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva, Shivaratri is celebrated in the Hindu month of Phalguna. It is one of the most ancient Hindu festivals. Devotees throng the temple and worship the Shiva Linga a variety of flowers, fruits, and prasad. They also perform maha abhishekam where they bathe the Shiva Linga with milk. Temples like Kashi Vishwanath and Somnath witness an outpour of devotees from various corners of the country on this special day. Overnight vigils and ritualistic fasting are also common features of Mahashivratri celebrations.
(Also Read: Mahashivratri 2020: Why Milk Plays a Significant Role in This Festival)
Maha Shivratri 2020 Date, Time, Puja Mahurat
Maha Shivaratri falls on Friday, February 21, 2020
Nishita Kaal Puja Time – 12:09 AM to 01:00 AM, Feb 22
Duration – 00 Hours 51 Mins
On 22nd Feb, Shivaratri Parana Time – 06:54 AM to 03:25 PM
Ratri First Prahar Puja Time – 06:15 PM to 09:25 PM
Ratri Second Prahar Puja Time – 09:25 PM to 12:34 AM, Feb 22
Ratri Third Prahar Puja Time – 12:34 AM to 03:44 AM, Feb 22
Ratri Fourth Prahar Puja Time – 03:44 AM to 06:54 AM, Feb 22
Chaturdashi Tithi Begins – 05:20 PM on Feb 21, 2020
Chaturdashi Tithi Ends – 07:02 PM on Feb 22, 2020
Significance Of Maha Shivaratri
Maha Shivratri means the ‘Great Night Of Shiva’. There are countless legends associated with the celebration of Maha Shivaratri. According to popular beliefs, the day marks the consummation of Shiva’s marriage. Did you know that there is a Shivaratri in every luni-solar month of the Hindu calendar?! However, Maha Shivaratri, which is celebrated usually on the 13th or 14th day of the month of Phalgun, is said to be the most significant Shivaratri of them all. Many devotees sit all night praying to the Hindu deity, singing hymns in praise. In several temples, Shiva Lings are given holy bath every three hours.
On the day of Shivaratri, devotees wake up early, take a bath, wear new clothes and visit the temples with common offerings like milk, fruits and bael leaves. Lord Shiva, according to scriptures, is very fond of bilwa leaves. Some devotees also offer honey, curd, ghee and sweets alongside milk and light incense sticks next to the Shiva Linga.
(Also Read: Significance of Bel Patra (Bilwa Leaf) in Hindu Pujas and Rituals)
Mahashivratri Fasting Rules and Foods You Can Have
The Shivaratri fast is a significant Hindu fast. Many devotees observe a nirjala vrat, where they do not consume even a drop of water or a morsel of food until they break their fast. But nirjala vrat is not suited for everybody, if you are sick, old or pregnant – you should refrain from fasting. Majority of devotees opt for a ‘Phallar’ fasting, where they consume fruits and milk. Some people also prefer to have light sattvik meal.
You can try including a bunch of seasonal fruits in your vrat like ber (jujube), guava, grapes, apples and banana. Kheer, shrikhand, lauki halwa, and other dishes made with pseudocereals and grains like sabudana vada and kuttu ki poori are also popular vrat staples.
About Sushmita SenguptaSharing a strong penchant for food, Sushmita loves all things good, cheesy and greasy. Her other favourite pastime activities other than discussing food includes, reading, watching movies and binge-watching TV shows.