What Is Shivratri Celebrated For… | 5 Powerful Maha Shivratri Mantra

A simple question, What is Shivratri celebrated for? Why wait… Lets dive… Maha Shivratri, a sacred festival in Hinduism, is celebrated with profound devotion and spiritual fervor. It holds a special place in the hearts of millions, marking a night dedicated to Lord Shiva, the cosmic dancer, and the embodiment of supreme consciousness. Let’s embark on a journey to understand the essence of Maha Shiv ratri and why it is celebrated with such reverence.

What Is Shivratri Celebrated For

Shivratri is celebrated for marking a remembrance of “overcoming darkness and ignorance” in life and the world.

Maha Shivratri Date

In India, the 14th day of each lunar month holds a special significance – it marks the onset of Shivaratri, an occasion observed on the eve of the new moon, representing the darkest night of the month. Among the 12 Shivaratri occurrences annually, Maha Shivaratri, falling approximately in February-March, stands out for its profound spiritual importance.

Aligned with the advent of Spring, Maha Shivaratri commences on the 13th night and extends through the 14th day in the final month of the Hindu calendar, typically corresponding to February or March in the Western calendar. This sacred observance spans approximately 12 days, embodying a period of heightened spiritual resonance.

What Is Shivratri Celebrated For
What Is Shivratri Celebrated For

When is Maha Shivratri in 2024?

2024 Maha Shivaratri date: March 08 (Friday)
2025 Maha Shivaratri date: February 26 (Wednesday)
2026 Maha Shivaratri date: February 15 (Sunday)

Meaning of Maha Shivratri

MAHA: Means great
SHIV: Means auspicious
RATRI: Means that gives rest, comfort and peace

Maha Shivratri Significance

  • Devotion to Lord Shiva: Shivratri is primarily a day to honor and worship Lord Shiva, one of the principal deities in Hinduism. Devotees believe that Lord Shiva, the destroyer in the Holy Trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara), performed the cosmic dance of creation, preservation, and destruction on this night. It is a time for intense prayer and devotion to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva for spiritual growth and well-being.
  • Rejuvenation and Penance: According to Hindu mythology, Maha Shiv ratri marks the day when Lord Shiva saved the universe by consuming the poison (halahala) that emerged during the churning of the ocean (Samudra Manthan). In doing so, he held the poison in his throat, turning it blue and earning him the name “Neelkantha” (the one with a blue throat). This event symbolizes the triumph of good over evil, and devotees observe the day by fasting, performing penance, and seeking purification.
  • Night of Vigil and Awakening: Devotees traditionally observe a night-long vigil on Maha Shiv ratri, engaging in prayers, meditation, and chanting of sacred hymns. The vigil symbolizes awakening the inner consciousness and transcending the darkness of ignorance. Many temples organize special ceremonies, including Rudra Abhishekam (ritual bathing of the Shiva Linga) and Maha Rudra Homa (fire ceremony), to seek divine blessings.
  • Celebration of Unity: Maha Shivratri transcends regional and linguistic boundaries, uniting Hindus across different cultural backgrounds. It serves as a reminder of the oneness of all beings and the universal nature of spirituality. People from diverse communities come together to celebrate the festival, fostering a sense of unity and brotherhood.
  • Symbolism of Shiva Linga: The Shiva Linga, a symbolic representation of Lord Shiva, is worshipped fervently during Maha Shivratri. The shape of the Linga represents the cosmic pillar of light, symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva. Devotees offer prayers, milk, water, and bilva leaves to the Shiva Linga as a gesture of reverence.
  • Renewal and Transformation: Maha Shiv ratri is considered an auspicious time for personal transformation and renewal. Devotees use this occasion to let go of negative habits, thoughts, and actions, aiming for self-improvement and spiritual growth. The festival emphasizes the cyclical nature of life, death, and rebirth.
Maha Shivratri Significance

What Is The Story Behind Maha Shivratri?

The history of Maha Shivratri is deeply rooted in Hindu mythology and ancient scriptures, and it involves various legends and events associated with Lord Shiva. Here is a detailed exploration of the history of Maha Shiv ratri:

Ancient Scriptures

Maha Shivratri is mentioned in several Hindu scriptures, including the Puranas (ancient texts that narrate mythological stories). The festival finds references in texts like the Skanda Purana, Linga Purana, and Padma Purana, where the significance of worshiping Lord Shiva on this auspicious night is elaborated.

Churning of the Ocean (Samudra Manthan)

One of the significant legends associated with Maha Shiv ratri is the churning of the ocean by the devas (gods) and asuras (demons) in their quest for the elixir of immortality (amrita). During this churning, various divine entities and treasures emerged, including the Halahala poison. Lord Shiva’s role in consuming this poison to protect the universe is a key event celebrated on Maha Shivratri.

Neelkantha – The Blue-Throated Lord

As Lord Shiva consumed the Halahala poison, it had a profound effect on him. The poison threatened to spread throughout his body, but Lord Shiva’s consort, Goddess Parvati, intervened. She pressed her hand on his throat, preventing the poison from descending further and turning Lord Shiva’s throat blue. This act of self-sacrifice by Lord Shiva is commemorated on Maha Shivratri.

What Is The Story Behind Maha Shivratri?

Divine Marriage of Shiva and Parvati

Another legend associated with Maha Shivratri is the divine marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It is believed that they got married on this auspicious night. The union of Shiva and Parvati symbolizes the cosmic balance between the male and female energies, highlighting the inseparable forces of creation and destruction.

The Shiva Linga Worship

Maha Shivratri is closely linked to the worship of the Shiva Linga, a symbolic representation of Lord Shiva’s divine energy. The Linga is considered a formless and infinite representation of the deity. Devotees perform rituals like Rudra Abhishekam, bathing the Shiva Linga with various sacred substances, signifying reverence and purification.

Historical and Cultural Evolution

Over the centuries, Maha Shivratri evolved as a major festival, blending religious and cultural elements. Temples dedicated to Lord Shiva became focal points for elaborate celebrations. The festival gained cultural significance as communities came together to celebrate through music, dance, and other cultural events.

Symbolism of Tandava – The Cosmic Dance

Maha Shiv ratri is associated with the belief that Lord Shiva performs the cosmic dance known as Tandava on this night. Tandava symbolizes the rhythmic cycle of creation, preservation, and destruction in the universe. Devotees meditate upon this cosmic dance for spiritual elevation.

Spiritual Practices and Austerity

Maha Shivratri is a time for spiritual practices, including meditation, yoga, and fasting. Many devotees observe a night-long vigil, engaging in prayers and meditation to deepen their connection with Lord Shiva.

Why Do We Fast On Maha Shivratri?

Fasting on Maha Shivratri holds significant religious and spiritual importance in Hinduism. Devotees observe fasting on this day as a form of self-discipline and as a way to express their devotion to Lord Shiva. There are several reasons behind the tradition of fasting on Maha Shiv ratri:

  • Penance and Purification: Fasting is considered a form of penance and self-purification. By abstaining from food and sometimes even water, devotees aim to cleanse their bodies and minds. This act of austerity is believed to demonstrate sincerity and dedication in seeking the divine blessings of Lord Shiva.
  • Mimicking Lord Shiva’s Asceticism: Lord Shiva is often depicted as an ascetic who leads a simple and austere life. Fasting on Maha Shivratri is a way for devotees to emulate the ascetic practices of Lord Shiva and align themselves with his spiritual ideals. It is seen as an act of surrender and devotion to the divine.
  • Symbolic of Detachment: Fasting symbolizes detachment from material comforts and desires. By willingly giving up food and other indulgences, devotees aim to detach themselves from the temporary and fleeting aspects of life. This practice helps foster a sense of spiritual discipline and focus on the eternal.
  • Concentration and Meditation: Fasting is believed to enhance concentration and meditation. With the body freed from the digestion process, the mind can be more focused on spiritual practices, such as chanting prayers, reciting mantras, and meditating. This heightened state of awareness is considered conducive to spiritual growth.
Why Do We Fast On Maha Shivratri?
  • Offering Sincere Devotion: Fasting is viewed as a way to express sincere devotion to Lord Shiva. It is not merely a physical restraint but a conscious effort to turn one’s attention inward and connect with the divine. Devotees believe that their prayers and penance are more heartfelt when accompanied by acts of self-discipline like fasting.
  • Breaking the Cycle of Desire: Fasting helps break the cycle of desire and dependence on material pleasures. By temporarily relinquishing physical nourishment, devotees aim to cultivate inner strength and resilience, reinforcing the idea that spiritual well-being transcends material comforts.
  • Preparation for Worship: The period of fasting on Maha Shivratri is often followed by intense worship during the night. Devotees break their fast after performing rituals like the abhishekam (ceremonial bath) of the Shiva Linga and other prayers. The fasting period is seen as a preparatory phase to approach the divine with a purified body and mind.
  • Bilva Tree Story: The whole night worship of Shiva has a different story. Once upon a time there was a tribal man who was poor and also a devotee of Lord Shiva. One day he went to forest to collect firewood and lost the way out. During night he climbed a tree and stood awake the entire night. To stay awake he plucked leaves from the tree and along with enchanting the name of Shiva dropped them one by one on the ground.In the morning he saw that he had dropped thousand leaves that night and there was a Shiv Linga on which he had dropped them. Unknowingly he worshipped Lord Shiva on that auspicious day of Mahashivratri and for this he was rewarded with divine bliss.

Maha Shivratri Puja Samagri List

  • Kush ka aasan
  • Shivling
  • Gangajal
  • Rose petals, aak leaves
  • Panchamrit made of ghee, raw cow milk, curd, honey and sugar
  • Panch meva and five types of sweets
  • Shiva Muthi (Gehu, black til, arhar dal, moong, akshat)
  • Paan leaves, laung, cardamom, supari
  • Bhang, Bhasma, Saffron, Rudraksh, Molly
  • Belpatra, Datura, Shami Patra
  • White sandalwood, sugarcane juice, pudding
  • Abir, Gulal, Bhodal, Camphor, Perfume
  • Suhaag Samagri for Maa Parvati
  • Mahashivratri fast katha book
  • Donation – blanket, dakshina, clothes, food
Shivratri Vrat Katha

Shivratri Vrat Katha

  • The story of a hunter is also associated with this festival, how Lord Shiva, pleased with his unknowing worship, showered his immense blessings on him. This story is also compiled in the mythological “Shiva Purana”…
  • In ancient times, there lived a hunter named Gurudruha in a forest who used to hunt wild animals and support his family.
  • Once on the day of Shiv-ratri, when he went out for hunting, but by chance he did not find any prey even after searching the whole day, he became worried because his children, wife and parents would have to remain hungry. But he went near a reservoir and climbed a tree on the bank of a ghat to drink some water because he had full hope that some animal would definitely come here to quench his thirst. ‘Patra’ and under the same tree there was also a Shivalinga which was not visible because it was covered with dry Bel leaves.
  • Before the first quarter of the night had passed, a deer came there to drink water. On seeing her, the hunter shot an arrow on his bow. In doing so, with the push of his hand, some leaves and a few drops of water fell on the Shivling below and unknowingly The hunter was worshiped for the first time. When the deer heard the rustling of leaves, she looked up in fear and said to the hunter in a trembling voice – ‘Don’t kill me.’ The hunter said that he and his family were hungry so he would not leave her. Could |
  • The deer promised that she would return after handing over her children to her master. Then he should hunt him. The hunter could not believe what he said. He again convinced the hunter by saying that the earth rests on truth; The sea remains within limits and streams of water flow from the springs, similarly it is also speaking the truth. Despite being cruel, the hunter took pity on the deer and said ‘return quickly’ and let the deer go.
  • After some time, another deer came there to drink water, the hunter became alert, started aiming the arrow and while doing so, with the push of his hand again like before, some water and some vine leaves fell down on the Shivalinga and unintentionally killed the hunter. The puja of the second hour was also done. This deer also got scared and begged the hunter to spare his life but when he refused, the deer promised him to return, saying that he knows that the one who turns back after giving a promise, will face the consequences of his life. Accumulated virtue gets destroyed. Like before, the hunter trusted the deer’s word and let it go.
  • Now he was worried that hardly any of the deer would return and what would happen to his family. Meanwhile, he saw a deer coming towards the water, the hunter was very happy to see it, Now again after putting the arrow on the bow, the third phase of puja was automatically completed but the deer became alert due to the sound of falling leaves. He looked at the hunter and asked – “What do you want to do?” He said, “I will kill you to provide food to my family.”
  • The deer became happy and said – “I am blessed that this body of mine will be useful to someone, my life will be successful through charity, but please let me go now so that I can hand over my children to their mother and help them all.” Be patient and return here.” The hunter’s heart had by now become pure due to the destruction of his sins, hence he said humbly – ‘Whoever came here, made up everything and went away and has not returned yet, if you also lie and go away, then my family members will What will happen? Now the deer assured him of telling his truth, saying that if he did not return; Then he will incur the same sin as the one who does not help others despite having the ability. The hunter also let him go saying, ‘Come back soon.’
  • As soon as the last watch of the night started, there was no limit to the hunter’s joy because he saw all those deers coming together along with their children. As soon as he saw them, he placed an arrow on his bow and like before, his fourth prahar too’s Shiva worship was completed. Now all the sins of that hunter were burnt away by the grace of Lord Shiva, hence he started thinking – ‘Oh, blessed are these animals who, despite being ignorant, want to do charity with their bodies, but woe to my life that I am wasting my life with many types of misdeeds. Continued taking care of the family.’ Now he stopped his arrow and told the deer that they were all blessed and allowed them to go back. When he did this, Lord Shankar became pleased and immediately showed him his divine form and blessed him with happiness and prosperity and gave him the name “Guh”. Friends, this was the cave with whom Lord Shri Ram had befriended.
Maha Shivratri Vrat Vidhi | Maha Shivratri Puja Vidhi

Maha Shivratri Vrat Vidhi | Maha Shivratri Puja Vidhi

  • Observing Maha Shivaratri involves adhering to a set of rituals derived from various religious texts. The recommended practice is to consume only one meal a day before commencing the fast, ensuring that the digestive system remains clear throughout the fasting period.
  • On the day of Shivaratri, it is advisable to rise early, take a bath, and incorporate black sesame seeds into the water. This ritual is believed to purify both the body and soul, with a preference for bathing in the Ganges if feasible.
  • Following the morning bath, devotees are to make a Sankalp (संकल्प), pledging to observe a full day of fasting and break it on the subsequent day. This commitment involves self-determination throughout the fasting period, seeking the blessings of Lord Shiva to complete the fast without any disruptions. Hindu fasts are rigorous, requiring devotees to seek divine blessings before embarking on them.
  • During the fasting period, devotees should abstain from all types of food, and in more stringent forms of fasting, even water is prohibited. However, the consumption of fruits and milk is permitted during the daytime, followed by strict fasting at night.
  • In the evening, before performing Shiva Puja or visiting the temple, devotees are advised to take a second bath. For those unable to visit the temple, a makeshift Shiva Ling can be fashioned for Puja activities, even using mud shaped into Linga form and applying Ghee for Abhishek Puja at home.
  • Shiva Puja is to be conducted during the night, and it can be performed once or up to four times throughout the night, dividing the duration into four Prahars (प्रहर) for multiple Shiva Pujas. Those opting for a single Puja should perform it at midnight.
  • As per Puja Vidhi, the Abhishek of the Shiva Lingam should be conducted using various materials such as milk, rose water, sandalwood paste, yogurt, honey, Ghee, sugar, and water. Devotees conducting four Prahar Puja should perform water Abhishek during the first Prahar, curd Abhishek during the second Prahar, Ghee Abhishek during the third Prahar, and honey Abhishek during the fourth Prahar, in addition to other materials.
  • Following the Abhishek ritual, the Shiva Linga is adorned with a garland made of Bilva leaves, believed to cool down Lord Shiva. Subsequently, Chandan or Kumkum is applied to the Shiva Linga, followed by lighting lamps and Dhupa. Other items used to adorn Lord Shiva include the Madar (मदार) flower, also known as Aak (आक), and Vibhuti, sacred ash made from dried cow dung.
Maha Shivratri Mantra
Maha Shivratri Mantra

Maha Shivratri Mantra

ॐ नमः शिवाय (Om Namah Shivaya).

Maha Shivratri Mantra

 ‘Maha Mrityunjay Mantra’
“Om Tryambakam Yajamahe Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam
Urvarukamiva Bandhanat, Mrityormukshiya Mamritat”

Maha Shivratri Mantra

“Panchakshari Shiva Mantra” 
Naagendra Haaraaya TriLochanaaya,
Bhasmanggaraagaaya Maheshvaraaya.
Nityaaya Shuddhaaya DigAmbaraaya,
Tasmay Na kaaraaya Namah Shivaaya…

Maha Shivratri Mantra

Rudra Mantra
“Om Namo Bhagavate Rudraye”

Maha Shivratri Mantra

Shiv Tandav Stotram

“Jatatavigalajjala pravahapavitasthale
Galeavalambya lambitam bhujangatungamalikam
Damad damad damaddama ninadavadamarvayam
Chakara chandtandavam tanotu nah shivah shivam

Jata kata hasambhrama bhramanilimpanirjhari

Vilolavichivalarai virajamanamurdhani
Dhagadhagadhagajjva lalalata pattapavake
Kishora chandrashekhare ratih pratikshanam mama

Dharadharendrana ndinivilasabandhubandhura

Sphuradigantasantati pramodamanamanase
Krupakatakshadhorani nirudhadurdharapadi
Kvachidigambare manovinodametuvastuni

Jata bhujan gapingala sphuratphanamaniprabha

Kadambakunkuma dravapralipta digvadhumukhe
Madandha sindhu rasphuratvagutariyamedure
Mano vinodamadbhutam bibhartu bhutabhartari

Sahasra lochana prabhritya sheshalekhashekhara

Prasuna dhulidhorani vidhusaranghripithabhuh
Bhujangaraja malaya nibaddhajatajutaka
Shriyai chiraya jayatam chakora bandhushekharah

Lalata chatvarajvaladhanajnjayasphulingabha

nipitapajnchasayakam namannilimpanayakam
Sudha mayukha lekhaya virajamanashekharam
Maha kapali sampade shirojatalamastunah”. 

Maha Shivratri Mantra
  • Devotees should break their fast the next day after taking a bath, ideally between sunrise and before the end of Chaturdashi Tithi, to maximize the benefits of the Vrat.

What To Eat In Maha Shivratri Fast

What To Eat In Maha Shivratri Fast
  1. Fruits: Fresh fruits are a popular choice for fasting. You can include bananas, apples, berries, pomegranates, and other seasonal fruits in your diet.
  2. Milk and Dairy Products: Milk, yogurt, and buttermilk are often consumed during the fast. You can prepare beverages like fruit smoothies or have plain milk.
  3. Sabudana (Sago): Sabudana is a commonly used ingredient during fasting. You can prepare dishes like sabudana khichdi or sabudana kheer.
  4. Singhare ka Atta (Water Chestnut Flour): This flour is often used to make dishes like singhare ke atte ka halwa or singhare ki poori.
  5. Potatoes: Potatoes are widely used in fasting recipes. You can make dishes like boiled potato chaat or vrat ke aloo.
  6. Rock Salt: Regular salt is avoided during fasting, and rock salt (sendha namak) is used as a substitute.
  7. Nuts and Dry Fruits: Almonds, cashews, raisins, and other nuts and dry fruits can be included as a snack or added to dishes.
  8. Vrat Ke Chawal (Barnyard Millet): Barnyard millet is a common grain used during fasting. You can prepare dishes like pulao or kheer with vrat ke chawal.
  9. Rajgira (Amaranth): Amaranth seeds or flour can be used to make rajgira puris, ladoos, or porridge.
  10. Vegetables: Some vegetables like pumpkin, sweet potato, and colocasia (arbi) are allowed during fasting. You can make dishes using these vegetables.

Remember to avoid certain ingredients like regular salt, grains like wheat and rice, and non-vegetarian food items during the fast.

Where Is Maha Shivratri Celebrated In India

Here is a detailed overview of how Maha Shiv ratri is celebrated in various regions:

Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

  • Kashi Vishwanath Temple: Varanasi, also known as Kashi, is one of the holiest cities for Hindus. The Kashi Vishwanath Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, witnesses elaborate celebrations during Maha Shiv ratri. Devotees throng the temple for special prayers, rituals, and aarti.

Haridwar, Uttarakhand

  • Har Ki Pauri: Haridwar, situated on the banks of the Ganges River, sees a massive congregation of devotees during Maha Shivratri. Pilgrims take a dip in the holy Ganges and participate in various religious ceremonies. The city comes alive with the sound of chants and bhajans.

Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu, Nepal

  • Pashupatinath Celebrations: Maha Shiv ratri is a major festival in Nepal, and the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu witnesses a grand celebration. Devotees from Nepal and India gather for prayers, rituals, and aarti. The temple precincts are decorated with lights and flowers.

Mandi, Himachal Pradesh

  • Shivratri Fair: Mandi’s Shivratri Fair is one of the most renowned celebrations in Himachal Pradesh. The week-long fair includes cultural events, processions, and religious rituals. The highlight is the Shobha Yatra, a colorful procession through the streets.
Where Is Maha Shivratri Celebrated In India

Rishikesh, Uttarakhand

  • Parmarth Niketan Ashram: Rishikesh, a spiritual hub, celebrates Maha Shivratri with special prayers and satsangs at ashrams like Parmarth Niketan. Devotees participate in spiritual discourses and engage in various activities to honor Lord Shiva.

Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu

  • Local Temples: In southern India, Maha Shiv ratri is celebrated with devotion. In Kumbakonam, known for its temples, devotees visit local Shiva temples for special poojas and rituals. The air is filled with religious fervor and cultural events.

Murudeshwar, Karnataka

  • Murudeshwar Temple Celebrations: The Murudeshwar Temple, located on the coast of Karnataka, is beautifully illuminated during Maha Shivratri. Devotees participate in special poojas, abhishekams, and cultural events to celebrate the occasion.

Amarnath, Jammu and Kashmir

  • Amarnath Cave Temple: While the Amarnath Yatra takes place in the summer, Maha Shiv ratri is an essential celebration at the Amarnath Cave Temple. Devotees visit to seek the blessings of the naturally occurring ice Shiva Lingam, and special prayers are conducted.

These celebrations showcase the diverse cultural and religious practices across India during Maha Shiv ratri, bringing together people from different regions to express their devotion to Lord Shiva.


Q1 Why is Maha Shivratri celebrated?
Ans: Maha Shiv ratri is celebrated to honor Lord Shiva and commemorate significant events in his life.

Q2 What is the significance of fasting on Maha Shivratri?
Ans: Fasting is believed to purify the mind and body, allowing devotees to connect more deeply with the spiritual aspect of the festival.

Q3 Can people of other faiths participate in Maha Shivratri celebrations?
Ans: Yes, Maha Shivratri is a celebration that transcends religious boundaries, welcoming people from all walks of life.

Q4 What is the importance of chanting mantras during Maha Shivratri?
Ans: Chanting mantras is believed to invoke the divine energies of Lord Shiva, bringing spiritual benefits to the devotee.

Q5 Are there regional variations in Maha Shivratri celebrations?
Ans: Yes, different regions in India have unique traditions and customs associated with Maha Shivratri, adding to the cultural diversity of the festival.

Q6 Why Maha Shivratri is celebrated?
Ans: Maha Shivratri is celebrated to honor Lord Shiva, the third deity in the Hindu Trinity. The festival marks the cosmic dance of Shiva, symbolizing the cycles of creation, preservation, and destruction. Additionally, it commemorates the divine union of Shiva and Parvati, representing the harmonious balance of energies in the universe. Devotees observe rituals, fasting, and night vigils to seek spiritual blessings and connect with the divine on this auspicious occasion.

Q7 Why we celebrate Maha Shivratri?
Ans: Maha Shiv ratri is celebrated to honor Lord Shiva, marking his cosmic dance and the divine union with Goddess Parvati. Devotees observe this festival through rituals, fasting, and prayers, seeking spiritual blessings and connecting with the divine essence of Shiva.

Conclusion: In this article, We dicussed about “What Is Shivratri Celebrated For?” Maha Shiv ratri stands as a revered celebration, symbolizing spiritual renewal, devotion, and the harmonious cosmic dance of Lord Shiva. As devotees engage in rituals and reflect on the divine significance, the festival becomes a powerful journey into the realms of spirituality, fostering inner purity and a profound connection with the divine.

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