Maha Shivratri Festival or the ‘The Night of Shiva’ is celebrated with devotion and religious fervor in honor of Lord Shiva, one of the deities of Hindu Trinity.
Shivratri, occurs on the 14th night of the new moon during the dark half of the month of Phalguna ( between Feb / March) when Hindus offer special prayer to the lord of destruction. This year it occurs on March 6, 2008.
Shivratri Pooja has been given tremendous significance in Hindu mythology. It is said that ritual worship of Lord Shiva on a Shivaratri day pleases Lord Shiva the most.
According to the mythology, each of these dravya used in the abhisheka blesses a unique quality:
- Milk is for the blessing of purity and piousness.
- Yogurt is for prosperity and progeny.
- Honey is for sweet speech.
- Ghee is for victory.
- Water is for purity.
All through the day the devotees keep severe fast, chant the sacred Panchakshara mantra “Om Namah Shivaya”, known as the great redeeming mantra also known as five-syllable mantra
In Kashmir, the Shivratri festival is held for 15 days. The 13th day is observed as a day of fast followed by a family feast.