Shiv Ratri Celebrations

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Shiv Ratri Celebrations
Maha Shivratri Celebrations across India
On this day, devotees stay awake throughout the night offering prayers to Lord Shiva. They offer special food made from the fruits of the season, root vegetables and coconut to the Lord. Special celebrations are held in some of the major Shiva temples at Varanasi, Kalahasti (Andhra Pradesh) and Chidambaram (Tamil Nadu).
This is an important day for the devotees of Shiva, who stay awake throughout the night, praying to him. In all major centers of Shiva worship, Shivratri, also called Maha Shivratri, is a grand occasion. From the very early morning, Shiva temples are filled with devotees, mostly women, who come to perform the traditional worship of the Shivalinga.
All throughout the day, devotees abstain from eating food and break their fast only the next morning after which the nightlong worship takes place. This day is considered especially auspicious for women. As on this very day, married women pray for the well being of their husbands and sons, while unmarried women pray for a husband like Shiva, who is considered to fit the bill of ideal husband because ‘He’ more or less have each and every quality that a women want in her future husband.
Hymns in praise of Lord Shiva are sung with great fervor and devotion. People repeat the Panchakshara Mantra: “Om Namah Shivaya”. It is believed that one who utters the name of Shiva during Shivratri with proper devotion is freed from all sins, he/she reaches the abode of Shiva and lives happily there and it is also believed that he/she is liberated from the cycle of birth and death.

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