What is Mahashivratri & What To Wear

What is Mahashivratri & What To Wear

Mahashivratri, which breaks down to ‘Maha’ – the great, ‘Ratri’ – Night – “The Great Night of Shiva”, a night of special spiritual significance. This Hindu festival is celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva and falls on the 14th day of the lunar month of Phalguna or Magha (usually in February or March), according to the Hindu calendar. Mahashivratri holds great significance and is observed with reverence and devotion by millions of devotees across India and other parts of the world.

Believed to have originated in 5th century BC, Mahashivratri is a notable festival in Hinduism that marks a remembrance of “overcoming darkness and ignorance” in life and the world. It is observed by remembering Shiva and chanting prayers, fasting, and meditating on ethics and virtues such as honesty, non-injury to others, charity, forgiveness, and the discovery of Shiva. While ardent devotees stay awake throughout this night, others visit one of the Shiva temples or go on a pilgrimage to the Jyotirlingas.

What exactly is Mahashivratri?

Honoring Lord Shiva, Mahashivratri is dedicated to Lord Shiva, one of the principal deities of Hinduism, known as the destroyer and transformer within the Trimurti (the Hindu trinity of gods).

According to Hindu mythology, Mahashivratri marks the day when Lord Shiva performed the Tandava, the cosmic dance of creation, preservation, and destruction. It is also believed to be the day when Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati. The fourteenth day of every lunar month or the day before the new moon is known as Shivratri. Among all the twelve Shivaratri that occur in a calendar year, Mahashivratri, the one that occurs in February-March is of the most spiritual significance. On this night, the northern hemisphere of the planet is positioned in such a way that there is a natural upsurge of energy in a human being. This is a day when nature is pushing one towards one’s spiritual peak. 

Significance of Mahashivratri

Many devotees observe a fast on Mahashivratri, abstaining from food and consuming only fruits, milk, and water. Some may observe a strict fast without consuming anything throughout the day. In addition to staying up all night chanting prayers, special abhishekam (holy bath) ceremonies are performed in temples, where idols of Lord Shiva are bathed with milk, water, honey, yogurt, and other sacred liquids. Devotees offer bilva leaves, flowers, fruits, and other traditional items to Lord Shiva as a symbol of reverence and devotion. Sacred fire rituals (havan) are conducted to invoke blessings and purify the surroundings. Various cultural events are also observed including music and dance performances. To add to the spirit of celebration, temples and homes are adorned with lights, flowers, and colorful decorations to create a festive ambiance. Most importantly, Mahashivratri fosters unity, harmony, and spiritual growth among communities, transcending boundaries of caste, creed, and nationality.

History of the Festival

Mahashivratri is very significant for people who are on the spiritual path. It is also very significant for people who are in family situations, and also for the ambitious in the world. People who live in family situations observe Mahashivratri as Shiva’s wedding anniversary. Those with worldly ambitions see that day as the day Shiva conquered all his enemies. But, for the ascetics, it is the day he became one with Mount Kailash.

According to the Hindu mythology, Lord shiva became like a mountain – absolutely still. In the yogic tradition, Shiva is not worshiped as a God, but considered as the Adi Guru, the first Guru from whom the science of Yoga originated. After many millennia in meditation, one day he became absolutely still. That day is Mahashivratri. All movement in him stopped and he became utterly still, so ascetics see Mahashivratri as the night of stillness.

Legends apart, this day and night are held with such importance in the yogic traditions because of the possibilities it presents to a spiritual seeker. Modern science has gone through many phases and arrived at a point today where they are out to prove to you that everything that you know as life, everything that you know as matter and existence, everything that you know as the cosmos and galaxies, is just one energy which manifests itself in millions of ways. In Indian culture, all the ancient prayers were not about saving yourself, protecting yourself or doing better in life. All the ancient prayers have always been “Oh lord, destroy me so that I can become like yourself.” So when we say Shivratri, which is the darkest night of the month, it is an opportunity for one to dissolve their limitedness, to experience the unboundedness of the source of creation which is the seed in every human being.

What To Wear

The fashion etiquettes for this auspicious day are simple. Men and women both wear new, fresh clothes. Men may don kurta pajamas while women can often opt for silk sarees. Minimal printed suits are a great option. Minimalism holds a special place when it comes to styling as it ensures that you don’t create a striking disturbance to anyone’s eyes by dressing in a popping way. Prints are the blissful choice to amp up a festive mood, the White Floral Pant Style Anarkali which is an elegant design. Other style options are White and Blue Floral Printed Peplum Style Patiala Suit and White and Blue Floral Printed Saree.

For printed sarees options check out Lashkaraa’s White Multicolor Floral Printed Saree or Off White Satin Georgette Saree, among other styles. If one can go on the heavier side to style for this auspicious day, there’s no color more auspicious than red. Lashkaraa’s Red Embroidered Brocade Saree is the perfect red saree. Another bright color saree ideal for this festival is the Blue Embroidered Brocade Saree.
When is Mahashivratri

Mahashivratri, also known as the ‘Night of Awakening’, is an opportunity and a possibility to bring yourself to that experience of the vast emptiness within every human being, which is the source of all creation. This year, Mahashivratri is going to fall on 8th March, 2024.

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