5TH MARCH, 2019 – MAHA SHIVARATRI

Shivaratri is the Hindu festival celebrating Lord Shiva.  Ratri’ means night, and Shivaratri celebrations take place during the night.  There are twelve Shivaratris in a year, one occurring each lunar month.  However, Maha Shivaratri, meaning “the great Shivaratri”, occurs just once a year on the 13th night of the waning moon in the Hindu month of Phalguna (February-March).  Shivaratri nights are considered a time when darkness and ignorance in one’s life and in the world can be overcome by prayer and an all-night vigil (jagaran).  Offerings are made to Shiva of fruits, leaves, sweets and milk.  For the monthly Shivaratris, the following day, devotees perform all-day fasting and worship of Shiva, and some perform meditative yoga.  In Shiva temples, “Om Namah Shivaya”, the sacred mantra of Shiva, is chanted throughout this day.  Maha Shivaratri celebrations will run, in a similar vein, from three to ten days.