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Mahashivratri Festival

Day of Maha Shiva Ratri celebrations : 

Place of Merriment: All India

Hindus celebrate each and every Gods and Goddesses in a grand way. One such festival is Maha Shivaratri. Also known as 'The Night of Shiva', this festival falls on the moonless 14th night during the month of Phalgun. It corresponds to the month of February March in the Roman calendar.

Legends of Mahashivaratri
Mythologists have different perspectives and tales behind Mahashivaratri. Some say that, Mahashivaratri marks the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Some believe that on this auspicious night, Lord Shiva performed the 'Tandava'?the dance of primal creation, preservation and destruction. According to other legend, it is on this day, Lord Shiva manifested in the form of a Linga.

How devotees Celebrate Mahashivaratri Festival?
Devotees of Lord Shiva dutifully and religiously observe certain customs and traditions behind Mahashivaratri. It is considered auspicious particularly for women. Married women pray for the well being of their husbands, while unmarried women pray for a husband like Lord Shiva, who they regard as an ideal husband.

Mahashivaratri Fast
As per the tradition, devotees observing 'Mahashivaratri Fast' is observe whole day and night. They take bath with boiled water and black sesame seeds to wash away impurities. Some may go on fast with only fruits. Some may observe complete fast without food and water.

Mahashivaratri Puja
Devotees throng at different Shiva Temples spread all over the world. Some devotees observe an all night vigil changing the mantra 'Om Namah Shivaya'. At night, shiva Lings is given the holy bath every three hours. An offering of fruits is also made to the deity. There is also the tradition to listen to the recital of various legends and stories related to Shivaratri and Lord Shiva and to understand its deeper meanings. On the morning of this day, devotees perform the ritual bath called 'Shiva Linga'. They bath with milk, honey and water.

After this sacred bath, she smears with haldi-kumkum on the lingum. Then, they decorate the linga with a garland of white and pink lotus flowers on it. Bel leaves are also placed at the top. Thereafter, special Mahashivaratri devotional songs are sung to invoke his blessings with the ringing of the temple bell.

Mahashivaratri Thandai
Since Lord Shiva is regarded as an ascetic god, Maha Shivratri is very popular with ascetics. Devotees prepare 'Thandai'?a drink made with bhang (cannabis), almonds, and milk. The tradition of preparing thandai is very popular among the youth. They sit together in groups and ground the alomonds all night long.

Mahashivaratri Feast
On this Hindus relish and prepare sweets like cashewnut barfi, saboodana kheer, potato pumpkin pancakes, shivratri raita, aloo khichdi and tikki.
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