Why is Maha Shivratri Celebrated?

Of the 12 Shivratri in the year Maha Shivratri is celebrated on the Chaturdashi of The Falgun Month. There are various stories behind why Shivratri is celebrated and every one of them is interesting and worth knowing. Some say Maha Shivratri is the day when Lord Shiva married Parvati, some say Maha Shivratri is celebrated because this day Lord Shiva drank the poison to save the world, some say Maha Shivratri is celebrated because of Ganga's descent from heavens this day and lord shiva' s holding her in his hair, some say this was the night when Lord Shiva performed the Tandav Dance.

A lesser-known story about why Maha Shivratri is celebrated is the curse of Chandrama and Shiva as his savior.

Chandrama was cursed by Rishi Daksha after which Chandrama started to move towards death and his light started fading. It is then when Sati decided to take matters in her hand and save Chandrama by praying to lord shiva. She searched for ways and came to know of Rishi Markendeya who was the only one to have the Maha Mrityunjay Mantra which could save Chandrama. To save her sister's husband Sati went to Rishi Markendeya and learned the mantra from him. This was the day when the Maha Mritrunjay Mantra was made public and thousands of people recited it to save the Chandrama. Shiva appeared and saved Chandrama's life and gave him a place on his head. This day was declared to be the Maha Shivratri.

Various regions and various group of people have their own beliefs and their own ways of celebrating Maha Shivratri. Some fast, some meditate, some celebrate by having 'Bhaang' as a 'prasad of Shiva'.
No matter how one celebrates it, the Maha Shivratri has been marked as the most significant festival for people following Shaivism.



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