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You are here : home > Indian Culture > Indian Festivals and occassions > Significance of Mahashivratri

Mahashivratri 2020 - 21st February 2020

Mahashivratri 2020 - 21st February 2020

Mahashivratri is considered as the ‘Great Night’ to worship God Shiva. Read on to find more about the date, timings, Puja and Vrat Vidhi for celebrating Mahashivratri in the year 2020.

The night that is specially attributed to worship God Shiva is called the Mahashivratri. The day falls in the month of February or March or Phalguna, according to the Hindu calendar, which is basically the fourteenth night of the new moon. Shiva is beholden as the Destroyer, so on this night, special prayers and rituals are performed in his honour. It is believed that the ever famed TandavaNritya or the supreme dance resulting in the primordial creation of the universe and life that encompassed preservation and destruction, on the other hand, had been performed by God Shiva on this night. It is the festival involving just day and night.

Mahashivratri 2020 - Date

In the year 2020, Mahashivratri will fall on 21st February, Friday. As Mahashivratri is falling on a weekend this year, it will be easier for the devotees to fast on Friday, break the fast on Saturday and relax on Sunday.

Mahashivratri 2020 - Timings

The Chaturdashi Tithi on the day of Mahashivrati in the year 2020 will begin at 05:20 PM on Feb 21 and will end at 07:02 PM on Feb 22.

Puja Timings
  • 1. Puja Timings for the First Prahar - On February 21st between 06:39 PM to 09:46 PM

  • 2. Puja Timings for the Second Prahar - On February 22nd between 09:46 PM to 12:53 AM

  • 3. Puja Timings for the Third Prahar - On February 22nd between 12:53 AM to 04:00 AM

  • 4. Puja Timings for the Fourth Prahar - On February 22nd between 04:00 AM to 07:08 AM

Mahashivrati Vrat Vidhi

Fasting on the day of Mahashivratri holds great significance in the life of married women. To fast on the day of Mahashivratri, it is important to take a bath from the head. It is necessary to fast strictly during the entire day. The person who is observing the fast can consume only fruits and milk. On the day of fast, it is necessary to do Puja of Shivlingam by following right Puja Vidhi as mentioned below. The person should follow good hygiene while observing fast. It is necessary to maintain the purity of the body and mind while fasting. The fast can be broken the next day during lunchtime.

Mahashivratri Puja Vidhi

To get immense benefits and blessings of Lord Shiva on the occasion of Mahashivratri, it is important to do Puja by following proper Puja Vidhi. The Puja should be performed by considering the above rules of fast as well. Before doing Puja one should not even consume a drop of water. As a normal ritual, it is necessary to take a bath from the head. One should wear clean clothes.

For performing Puja of Shivlingam different materials are used. If the devotee is planning to do Puja only once in the morning he or she should perform Puja by doing Abhishek of Shivlingam by offering water, milk, curd, ghee and then adorning it with flowers,Belpatra, Sandalwood paste, Haldi-Kumkum, etc. After which the devotee should adorn the Shivlingam by lighting the Diya of Ghee, incense sticks, Dhoop, Kapoor, etc.

If the devotee wants to do Puja during the four Prahars, he or she should perform Abhishek of Shivlingam with water during the first Prahar, curd during the second Prahar, Ghee during the third Prahar and honey during the fourth Prahar and adorn it during each Prahar with different materials like flowers, Diya, incense sticks, etc.

The Legend of Mahashivratri

Many stories revolve around the origin and purpose of celebrating or observing the festival of Mahashivratri. If you refer to the Puranas, there was this mythological event of Samudra Manthan, or the churning of the ocean by the Devas (Gods) and the Asuras (Demons), from where a pot of Amrit and a pot of Vish emerged. Both the Devas and the Asuras wanted a share of the pot of Amrit, which was a potion of eternal life, but none wanted to accept the pot of Vish or poison. It was then that Shiva drank down the Vish to save the creatures from being destroyed by the deadly poison. He held the Vish in his throat and did not swallow it, this is why Shiva is also referred to as the Neelkanth, as his throat has turned blue as the impact of the poison. It is believed that Mahashivratri is the night when Shiva had drank this Vish and become Neelkanth.

Significance of Mahashivratri for Women

It is believed to be a very auspicious occasion for women. Unmarried women pray to God Shiva, who is considered as an ideal masculine character, so that they are blessed with a husband like Shiva, and married women observe this day praying for the well-being of their husbands. Any person, who takes the holy name of Lord Shiva with complete devotion on Mahashivratri, is believed to be blessed by the Lord and absolved of all his sins.

The Rituals Related to Mahashivratri

Some customary rituals are observed on this occasion while doing Puja. A three-tiered platform is built around the Yagna fire, symbolizing the Swargaloka or heaven, the Antarikshalok or the space and the Bhulok or the earth, respectively. Shiva is believed to have eleven manifestations or forms, so eleven Kalash or urns are placed on the topmost or the Swargalok plank, to signify the eleven Rudrarupas or manifestations. These are decorated with Bilva leaves BelPatra, and mango is placed on top of a coconut that represents the head of Lord Shiva. The shank of the uncut coconut represents the mass of tangled hair on Shiva’s head and the three spots are the three eyes of the Lord.

Bathing the Shivalingam

This is an important ritual of Mahashivratri, where the phallus symbol or lingam is bathed with milk, water, and honey amidst the chanting of Shiva Stotras. The form represents the union of the divine male and female organs, which are the lingam and the Yoni. Devotees offer Panchagavya or the five sacred offerings of the cow, the holy animal of the Hindus, such as the milk, ghee, butter, cow’s urine, sour milk, and dung along with the five foods of immortality that are the honey, milk, curd, sugar and clarified butter or Ghee. Then the Dhutra flower and fruit, although they are poisonous are offered to the Lord.

Finally, the Mahashivratri is considered to be one of the most auspicious occasions for meditation and lifting ones’ soul to a higher plane of peace and power. Devotees chant the sacred mantra of Shiva, “Om NamahShivay” as they place the offerings to the Lord, light the incense sticks and ring the temple bells. The idea is to invoke the Lord and seek his blessings for a better life.

When does Mahashivratri fall in the year 2020? What are the timings for doing Puja during the different Prahars? How to do Puja of Shivlingam on the occasion of Mahashivratri? Discuss here.

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Tanisha.7 years ago
It was great reading the article on Mahashivaratri. I religiously used to follow Mahashivaratri but never knew the stories behind the celebrations. I got to know the legend behind the celebration. I would suggest you to post the complete puja ritual of Mahashivaratri. It would be very helpful for all Indians living abroad.
Sanjay.7 years ago
I strictly follow Mahashivaratri. I believe this day to be the most pious of all days. It is also believed that on the night of Shivaratri, Lord Shiva performed “Tandava ,” a cosmic dance of creation, destruction and preservation. Bathing of the Shivalingam and the different offerings are said to have their unique meanings. Young kids should be made aware of the significance of this festival.
Riya.7 years ago
stay in Mauritius but miss the hustle and bustle of Mahashivaratri celebrations in India. Here also Mahashivratri is a huge festival as there is a large Hindu community and we all follow the rituals completely. On Maha Shivaratri, I offer milk, bhaang (hemp leaves) and Bel leaves to Shivalingam. I also prepare special sweets for the occasion. This day I feel very peaceful and happy.
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Discussion Forum - Recent Posts
What is the legend behind Mahashivratri festival? Why is Mahashivratri significant for women? How to perform Mahashivratri Puja?
Divya Divya
There are many legends surrounding the festival of shivaratri. The most common one being is that on Shivratri, Lord Shiva became swallowed the deadly poison that came up during the churning of " Kshir...
read reply
Soumya Soumya
Festival of Mahashivaratri has tremendous significance in Hinduism. This day is considered especially auspicious for women. Married and unmarried women observe fast and perform Shiva Puja with sinceri...
read reply
Hitesh Hitesh
Mahashivratri is the night of Shiva and one of the most auspicious days dedicated to Lord Shiva. People fast for the entire day. On this day after bathing, visiting a Shiva temple is a must. offerings...
read reply
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