Maha Shivratri: Significance, Pooja Items and Dress Colour•
Posted on January 17 2023
Maha Shivratri is an auspicious and important days for Hindus from all over the country. The day is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Hence, the day is of great significance to the Shaivites sect who practise the Shaivism faith. It has been observed in the country for a long time dating back to as early as the 5th century during the times of Indus River Valley Civilisation.
This day typically occurs in late winter just before the onset of summer. It is said that the lord performed His famous heavenly dance known as tandav nritya on the night of Maha Shivratri. There is also a belief that human beings are bestowed with extra energy levels on this day. They remain awake overnight to use this extra energy to sing praises in honour of Shiva, read the Shiva Purana or listen to stories about their beloved deity.
Significance of Maha Shivratri
According to Hindu scriptures, this day is associated with the dispelling of darkness in the lives of the devotees. It also assists a person to be freed from ignorance.
It is important to make offerings to the linga of Lord Shiva on the Maha Shivratri with a devout mind. This act helps followers let go of and overcome their sins, thereby paving way for them to walk on the road of righteousness and attain moksha or salvation.
Importance of Pooja Items
As per the Shiva Purana, there are six main pooja items that must be used to offer one’s obeisance to the lord on Maha Shivratri. Each of these items has its own significance, which makes it absolutely necessary to use them.
- Water, honey and milk with bel leaves added to them – These items help in wiping out one’s sins and purification of the soul.
- Vermillion paste – This paste is applied on the linga after bathing it and represents good virtue in an individual. The paste is applied only by men. Women can apply a paste of sandalwood.
- Fruits – Offering fruits to Lord Shiva with a sincere mind helps devotees have their desires fulfilled and be blessed with a long life.
- Incense sticks – The burning of the incense sticks bestows wealth on a person.
- Lamp – A lit lamp represents the achievement of knowledge.
- Betel leaves – Offering betel leaves highlights the satisfaction of an individual with worldly pleasures.
Dress Colour on Maha Shivratri
On Maha Shivratri, day devotees wear outfits in green colour. This colour is said to be highly auspicious for this day because Lord Shiva is said to be fond of green. You must make sure that your outfit is washed and clean. It is recommended that you wear a cotton attire as cotton is a symbol of purity.
If you do not have a green outfit, you can dress yourself in red, yellow, white or orange. You must avoid black completely as the lord does not like this colour because it triggers negative emotions inside Him. Some followers avoid wearing any dark colour on this day.
What Not to Offer on This Day
There are certain things that you must avoid offering to Lord Shiva along with your prayers to Him. These apply to not only offerings on Maha Shivratri day but also any time you worship the lord.
Basil or tulsi leaves must not be offered to Lord Shiva. It is believed that these leaves took form from a part of Vrinda who was the wife of an asura named Jalandar killed by the lord. You can use bel leaves instead.
Avoid worshipping red coloured flowers to the lord. The lord is fond of white flowers and so you can offer flowers of this colour. However, you must avoid offering the kevadi and ketaka flower as they are said to have been cursed by Shiva.
Although kumkum is an essential offering for any spiritual ritual because it is considered to be a sign of good luck, it is not offered to Lord Shiva as He is often represented as a recluse.
Broken rice must not be used as a Maha Shivratri offering as it is considered to be damaged. Damaged rice is believed to be impure and incomplete.
Do not offer coconut water to the lord. This is because any offering to a deity is represented as nirmalya and cannot be consumed by humans. However, it is a practise to consume coconut water after it is offered to the deities. Since Maha Shivratri is a day of fasting, it will not be possible to have the coconut water after offering. So, making this offering is avoided. You can offer a coconut instead.
What makes Maha Shivratri different from the usual Hindu festivals is that it is not a day of merrymaking and feasting. It is a day of visiting temples dedicated to the lord and contemplating on Him. If it is not possible to visit a shrine, you can do a Shiva pooja and home and engage yourself with spiritual acts. Reciting Shiva mantras arouse energy vibrations that have a positive impact in the lives of the chanter. You must abstain from any form of indulgence like non-vegetarian food, alcohol and drugs. Refrain from any form of quarrels and falsehood on this day.