Maha Shivratri 2024: Date, Time, Rituals and Significance

Maha Shivratri, a revered Hindu festival, holds profound significance in honour of Lord Shiva. Celebrated annually, it marks the convergence of divine energies and spiritual potency. Falling on March 8, 2024, devotees engage in sacred rituals to deepen their connection with the divine. The festival involves unique customs, symbolizing the triumph over darkness through fasting, meditation, and vigil at Shiva temples. 

Date and Time  

Maha Shivratri typically occurs in February or March, specifically on the fourteenth day of the dark half of the lunar month of Phalguna or Magha. In 2024, it falls on March 8. The Chaturdashi Tithi begins at 09:57 pm on March 8 and ends at 6:17 pm on March 9. The auspicious Nishita Kaal Puja Time is from 12:07 am to 12:56 am on March 9. Devotees also observe auspicious phases on March 8, from 6:25 pm to 9:28 pm, and the second phase from 9:28 pm to 12:31 am on March 9. 

Significance of Food  

The Maha Shivratri puja involves meticulous preparation, with devotees purifying their minds, bodies, and surroundings to create an auspicious ambiance. Food plays a vital role in this spiritual journey. Some devotees fast, abstaining from worldly indulgences to purify their souls. The puja commences with a sacred bath, 'Abhishekam,' where the Shiva Lingam is bathed with milk, yoghurt, honey, ghee, and holy water, symbolizing purity and divine grace. 

Devotees offer bilva leaves and Rudraksha beads, embodying deep symbolism. Bilva leaves, known as 'Bilva Patra,' symbolize consciousness, and the offering signifies surrendering ego for spiritual awakening. Rudraksha beads, believed to be tears of Lord Shiva, are used in chants and meditation, aligning devotees with divine vibrations. The festival also emphasizes moderation and gratitude, promoting self-discipline and mindfulness in consuming food. 


The Maha Shivratri Puja rituals commence in the early hours, as devotees bathe, don new attire, and visit Shiva temples. Particularly significant for women, the traditional puja involves water, milk, Bel leaves, and fruits like Ber. Circumambulations around the Shiva Lingam, ceremonial pouring of milk, and offerings of leaves, fruits, and flowers accompany worship with incense sticks.  

Six elements of the Maha Shivratri Puja hold unique meanings: bathing with water and milk purifies the soul, vermilion symbolizes virtue, fruit offerings signify desire fulfillment, incense sticks represent wealth, betel leaves denote contentment, and lamp lighting symbolizes wisdom attainment. The night-long vigil at Shiva temples resonates with 'Om Namah Shivay' chants and devotional songs, embodying the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva.