When is Shivaratri?
Auspicious festival of Mahashivaratri falls on the 4th night of the new moon during Krishna Paksha in the Hindu month of Phalgun. The Sanskrit term, Krishna Paksha means the period of waning moon or the dark fortnight and Phalguna corresponds to the month of March – March in English Calendar. Shivaratri Festival is celebrated on a moonless night.
According to Hindu mythology, Shivaratri or ‘Shiva’s Great Night’ symbolizes the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Many however, believe, Shivaratri is the night when Lord Shiva performed the Tandava Nritya – the dance of primordial creation, preservation and destruction. Celebrating the festival in a customary manner, devotees give a ritual bath to the Lingam with the panchagavya – milk, sour milk, urine, butter and dung. Celebrations of Shivaratri Festival mainly take place at night. Devotees of Lord Shiva throng Shiva temples across the country and spend ‘the Night of Lord Shiva’ by chanting verses and hymns in praise of the Lord. The festival holds special meaning for the ladies. They pray to Goddess Parvati also called ′Gaura′, the giver of ′suhag′ for good husbands, marital bliss and a long and prosperous married life.