Today is Maha Shivratri 

Maha Shivratri or Mahashivratri is one of the most auspicious festivals in the Hindu religion.

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2014

Maha Shivratri or Mahashivratri is one of the most auspicious festivals in the Hindu religion. This great festival commemorates the convergence of Shiva and Shakti. According to Drik Panchang, while the South Indian calendar marks Maha Shivratri on Chaturdashi Tithi during Krishna Paksha in the month of Magha, the North Indian calendar celebrates Maha Shivaratri in the month of Phalguna. However, both celebrate it on the same day. Devotees visit temples, worship Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati, chant mantras and prayers, prepare bhogs, observe fasts and wish for Lord Shiva’s blessings. This year, Maha Shivratri falls on February 18, Saturday. While the Nishita Kaal Puja Time begins from 12:09 am to 01:00 am (February 19), the Shivaratri Parana Time lasts from 06:56 am to 03:24 pm.

One of the holiest Hindu festivals, Maha Shivratri, commemorates Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati’s marriage and many other cosmic events related to him. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva married Maa Shakti, his divine consort, for a second time on this night. It is in celebration of their divine union that the day is celebrated as ‘The Night of Lord Shiva’. While Lord Shiva signifies Purusha – which is mindfulness, Maa Parvati signifies Prakriti – which is nature. The union of this consciousness and energy promotes creation.

Another legend says that during the creation of the universe, Lord Shiva was incarnated as Lord Rudra during the midnight of Maha Shivaratri with the grace of Lord Brahma. It is also believed that on this night, Lord Shiva performed his cosmic dance of creation, preservation and destruction when he heard the news of his consort Maa Sati’s immolation. This heavenly dance is known as Rudra Tandav among his devotees.