Friday, February 12, 2010
(Night of Shiva or "Great Night of Shiva") The festival is principally celebrated by offerings of Bael (Bilva) leaves to the Lord Shiva, all day fasting and an all night long vigil. Festival is celebrated with devotion and religious fervor on the moonless 14th night of the new moon in the Hindu month of Phalgun. Devotees observe fast all through the day and night of Shivaratri in honor of Lord Shiva and pay a visit to Shiva temples.
Ritual bath of Shiva Lingam with milk, water, honey etc is also performed by the devotees as a part of the tradition. Many believe that Shivaratri Festival marks the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati. However, according to some legends, it was on the auspicious night of Shivaratri that Lord Shiva performed the ‘Tandava’, the dance of the primal creation, preservation and destruction.Ganga is traditionally used as an offering for Lord Shiva and his followers.