Maha Shivratri 2020 (Photo Credit: Pexels.com)
Maha Shivratri is one of the most auspicious Hindu festivals which is annually observed in honour of Lord Shiva. This year, it will be celebrated on February 21 across the country. On this day, devotees observe a fast and break it only on the next day. They douse the Shivling with water from Ganges, turmeric, rose water, sandalwood paste, sacred ash, panchamrit, honey, milk, curd and more. At the end of the puja, specially prepared dishes are offered to Shiva. This puja ends with aarti and distributing prasad to the family members and the invitees.
For those who keep fast on this day, read all the rules of fasting below:
Devotees must rise early and take holy bath in sacred water. You can also add some black sesame seeds in it and then have a bath. Wear new clothes and visit the nearby Shiva temple.
One must perform the vrat without getting distracted, followed by dhyana (meditation). The next step is to invoke Lord Shiva and request him to accept their humble offerings.
Devotees offer water or raw milk to the deity. They may also offer Bilva leaves, Datura flower and fruits, the white crown flower etc.
Consumption of wheat, rice or pulses is not allowed during the fast. One can eat fruits or milk. One may also have vrat food preparations such as kuttu or singhare ki puri or parantha, sabudana khichdi, jeera aloo or sama ke chawal ki khichdi etc. Regular salt is not allowed in food, instead use rock salt or Sendha Namak.
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Keeping vrat helps a devotee keep his senses in his control and cleanse his mind and body from things that are toxic to one's well-being.
While observing the fast, the devotees must do Shiv Puja on the night of Shivratri either at the home or temple. Shivratri puja is usually done once in every three hours. The whole of the night is divided thus into four parts and during each of the segments worship and ritual bath is offered to Shiv Linga.
Things Not To Do On Shivratri:
Tulsi Leaves: Never offer tulsi leaves while worshipping Lord Shiva. It is believed that devotees who use tulsi leaves during puja are unable to complete their puja.
Saffron: Devotees refrain from offering saffron and opt for ash instead which Lord Shiva applies on his forehead.
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Alcohol: You shouldn't consume alcohol or non-vegetarian food on Maha Shivratri.
Coconut water: Coconut water should also be avoided.
Bronze pot: While offering milk, curd or water, ensure you use a copper pot and not a bronzer one. It's believed that bronze is equivalent to wine and the Lord doesn't approve of the hands or nails touching anything inappropriate.