Maha Shivratri 2021: Date, puja timings, history, and significance

Maha Shivratri 2021: Date, puja timings, history, and significance

Maha Shivratri 2021 Date, puja timings: One of the greatest and most pious of all days for the Hindu community around the world, Maha Shivratri, as the name suggests, is a day dedicated to Lord Shiva, the God of Destruction, and one who is the third in the Hindu triumvirate, after Lord Brahma — the God of Creation, and Lord Vishnu — the God of Preservation.

Shivaratri, it is said, is the convergence of Shiva and Shakti — the masculine and feminine energies which balance the world. According to the Drik Panchang, while in the south, chaturdashi tithi during Krishna Paksha in the month of Magha, is known as ‘Maha Shivaratri’, as per the north Indian calendar, Masik Shivaratri in the month of Phalguna is known as Maha Shivaratri. The festival, however, is celebrated on the same day. And unlike other Indian festivals, which are about fervour, Maha Shivratri is a more solemn affair, marked with internal reflection and introspection.

This year, Maha Shivratri will be celebrated on March 11, which is a Thursday. The chaturdashi tithi begins at 02.39 pm on March 11, and ends 03.02 pm on March 12.

The Drik Panchang mentions that a day prior to the puja, devotees eat only one time. And on the day — after finishing morning rituals — they pledge to observe a full-day fast, meaning they cannot eat anything until the next day. The fasting is done not only to seek blessings of the Lord, but also for self-determination.

On the day of Shivaratri, devotees must take a second bath in the evening, before doing the puja. Shiva puja should be done at night, and devotees can break the fast the following day, after bathing. Additionally, they must break it between sunrise and before the end of chaturdashi tithi, as per Drik Panchang.