Maha Shivratri, is a Hindu festival celebrated every year in reverence of Lord Shiva. Shivaratri literally means the great night of Shiva or the night of Shiva.
As per Hindu calendar, Maha Shivratri is celebrated every year on the 17th night/18th day of the Maagha or Phalguna month of the Hindu calendar.
In 2016, Maha Shivratri is celebrated on 7th March 2016.
Maha Shivratri Puja Rituals :
Maha Shivratri festival is principally celebrated by offerings of Bael or Bilva leaves and flowers to Lord Shiva, all-day fasting and an all-night-long vigil.
All through the day the devotees, chant the sacred Panchakshara mantra dedicated to Lord “Om Namah Shivaya”.
Devotees also maintain long vigils during the night, keeping awake to listen to stories, hymns and songs. The fast is broken only the next morning, after the nightlong worship.
According to the Shiva Purana, the Mahashivaratri worship must incorporate six items:
- Bathing the Shiv Linga with water, milk and honey, and Wood apple or bel leaves added to it, representing purification of the soul;
- The vermilion paste applied on the Shiv Linga after bathing it, representing virtue;
- Offering of fruits, which is conducive to longevity and gratification of desires;
- Burning incense, yielding wealth;
- The lighting of the lamp which is conducive to the attainment of knowledge;
- And betel leaves marking satisfaction with worldly pleasures.
Shivaratri puja can be performed one time or four times during the night. The whole night duration can be divided into four to get four Prahar (प्रहर) to perform Shiva Puja four times.
The twelve Jyotirlingas (lingams of light) are sacred shrines of Lord Shiva, and centres for his worship. They are known as Swayambhus, meaning the lingams sprung up by themselves at these places and temples were built there afterwards.
Maha Shivratri 2016 Puja Muhurat – Auspicious Timing :
On Mahashivratri, Nishita Kala is the most perfect time to observe Shiva Pooja. On this day, in all Shiva temples, the most auspicious Lingodbhava puja is performed during this time.
Nishita Kaal Puja Time : 24:24+ to 25:13 (8 March 2016)
Ratri First Prahar Puja Time : 18:42 to 21:45 (7 March 2016)
Ratri Second Prahar Puja Time : 21:45 to 24:49+ (7, 8 March 2016)
Ratri Third Prahar Puja Time : 24:49+ to 27:52+ (8 March 2016)
Ratri Fourth Prahar Puja Time : 27:52+ to 30:55+ (8 March 2016)
Parana Time : On 8th March 06:55 to 10:34