Maha Shivratri is a Hindu festival held every year in honor of Lord Shiva. It is also commonly called: Maha Shivaratri, or Shivaratri. Maha Shivaratri means literally the great night of Shiva or the night of Shiva. It is celebrated every year on the 14th day of the month Maagha or Phalguna of the Hindu calendar. The festival is held mainly by the offerings of Bael or Bilva / Vilvam leaves Lord Shiva, every day of fasting and a vigil throughout the night. According to traditions and discipleship, penance is carried out in order to obtain favors in the practice of yoga and meditation, in order to achieve summum bonum of life consistently and quickly.
The most important features of this religious function are the rigid fasting for twenty-four hours without sleep and the vigil during the night. Every true devotee of Lord Shiva spends the night of Shivaratri in deep meditation, keeps watch and watches quickly. The worship of Lord Shiva consists of offering flowers, Bilva leaves and other gifts in the Linga which is a symbol of Lord Shiva, and bathes with milk, honey, butter, lard, rose water, etc.
From very early morning, the temples of Shiva gather their devotees, mostly women, who come to perform the traditional Shivalinga worship and therefore expect favors from God. The devotees bathe in the sunrise, preferably in the Ganges, or any water source (as the Sagartank Shiva in Khajurao). This is a cleansing rite, an important part of all Hindu festivals. The use of a piece of clean clothing after the sacred bath, the faithful takes pots of water to the temple to bathe the Shivalinga. They offer prayers to the sun, Vishnu and Shiva. Women pray for the welfare of their husbands and children. The temple resonates with the sound of the bells and shouts of “Jai Shankerji ki” or “God save you, Shiva.” Devotees surround the lingam three or seven times, and then pour the water over it.
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