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Maha Shivaratri

Authored by British Online Archives
Published on 18th February, 2023 1 min read

Maha Shivaratri

Poster for Maha Shivaratri

Today (18/02/2023) is Maha Shivaratri, an annual festival dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Meaning “the Great Night of Shiva”, the festival falls in the month of Phalguna (February - March) as per the North Indian Hindu calendar and in Magha (January - February) according to the South Indian Hindu calendar. 

 An occasion marked by remembrance and self-reflection; the festival is one of the biggest celebrations in the Hindu calendar. During the preceding day, participants will have observed a fast and at night a vigil, during which a special worship of the lingam (symbol of Shiva) is performed. Ardent observers of the festival often stay up all night or embark on pilgrimages. Compared to other Hindu festivals, the period is a relatively solemn affair, with a focus being placed on introspection with the aim of spiritual growth and finding inner peace. With the festival marking the ‘beginning of consciousness’ in Hindu scripture, the festival is often additionally celebrated through meditation, yoga, and chanting. 

 Though the festival may be more of a solemn celebration compared to other Hindu festivals, as the period celebrates the Tandava (heavenly dance of Shiva), there is still an emphasis on revelry and fanfare to mark the occasion. Feasting, fairs, gift-giving and more are observed across different Hindu communities in the name of Shiva over the religious period.

 To all those observing this festival over the next few days, British Online Archives would like to wish you a fulfilling and peaceful Maha Shivaratri!

Authored by British Online Archives

British Online Archives

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The British Online Archives Notable Days diary is a platform intended to mark key dates and events throughout the year. The posts draw attention to historical events and figures, as well as recurring cultural traditions and international awareness days, in both religious and secular contexts.

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