Mahashivratri is celebrated as the night of Lord Shiva, according to the Hindu lunar calendar.
With more than 3 lakh gods and goddesses in the Hindu culture and a majority of the population of the Indian sub-continent belonging to this religion, there are a diverse range of festivals and celebrations that come with it. From harvest to movement of the sun and moon during the year, each event is marked by a celebration. Mahashivratri is one of them. While Shivratri falls on the fourteenth of every month according to the Hindu calendar, it is Mahashivratri that takes place only once a year.
This great night marks the time when Lord Shiva descends for his heavenly dance. It is believed that Lord Shiva dances on the night before every new moon and this is considered to be an auspicious time. The movement of the moon in certain positions marks the day and this year it is being celebrated on 1st March, 2022. The name Shivratri comes from two words, Shiv referring to Lord Shiva and Ratri meaning night. Several devotees of Lord Shiva observe fasts during this day and the day commemorates the anniversary of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
In you are keeping a fast on this day, it is recommended that you eat only certain kinds of foods like milk-based beverages, fruits, non-cereal based dishes etc. Apart from this, there are several offerings that are made to Lord Shiva on this day as prasad. Here are a few prasads that you can prepare on this holy day.
This crumbly and sweet mixture is quite commonplace in northern parts of the country. Panjiri, for the unversed is a crushed form of ladoo. When rolled it balls, it forms a ladoo. The dessert is made from gum, ghee and loads of chopped nuts like cashews and almonds. The rich and dry dessert is served as bhog to Lord Shiva on Mahashivratri.
While bhang is often associated with Holi, this drink is a favourite of Lord Shiva. Although the drink is considered to be intoxicated, if the hemp leaves are used in adequate quantities then it is very refreshing and tasty. The frothy drink is made from crushed leaves of the hemp plant and is offered to the Lord.
A thick and creamy rice pudding is prepared on this day to offer to the Lord. Made with rice dunked in a pool of milk, the rich pudding is loaded with chopped nuts for the crunch.