Every year more than 50 festivals are celebrated in Nepal. That is why Nepal is also known as the “Land Of Festivals”. All the festivals in Nepal are celebrated with full enthusiasm, joy, and devotion.
Maha Shivaratri is one of these most celebrated festivals in Nepal. In this blog post, we are going to give you a brief explanation of the celebration of Maha Shivaratri in Nepal, its history, mythology, significance, and many more.
What Is Maha Shivaratri?
Maha Shivaratri, The Great Night Of Lord Shiva is one of the major festivals and one of the most celebrated festivals in Nepal which is celebrated by the Hindus. It is celebrated every year on the 13the night and 14th day of every Lunar month, which usually falls in the month of Fulgun(February-March) according to the Bikram Sambat calendar and Hindu calendar.
Maha Shivaratri is a festival that is fully dedicated to Lord Shiva/Mahadev, the Hindu god of destruction and regeneration. It is a very important festival in the Shaivism tradition of Hinduism. Shaivism is one of the major Hindu traditions that worship Lord Shiva as the Supreme Being.
History & Mythology
There are some mythologies behind the celebration of Maha Shivaratri. A few of them are explained below:
1. Goddess Parvati
Some legends say that this day marks the wedding of Lord Shiva. Other folklore claims that when Goddess Parvati asked about his favorite day, Lord Shiva exclaimed with this day.
2. Samundra Manthan
Samundra Manthan is one of the major events in Hindu mythology. There are many stories and legends associated with this event. One of them is about Lord Shiva. Samundra Manthan is the most popular mythology behind the celebration of Maha Shivaratri. It is said and believed that on this day Lord Shiva drank the poison named “Halahal” which was produced during Samundra Manthan. Halahal was so poisonous that it could end the entire creation. So to avoid that Lord Shiva drank Halahala and held the poison in his neck which later turned his neck into blue color. Due to his blue neck, he was named “Neel Kanth” by both gods and demons. After seeing Lord Shiva drinking the poison for the sake of people including gods and demons, all began to worship him to show their respect. Since then this day is believed to be celebrated as the great night of Lord Shiva.
Celebration Of Maha Shivaratri In Nepal
Maha Shivaratri is one of the major festivals of Hindus in Nepal. Lord Shiva is one of the three main gods in Hinduism-Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh(Lord Shiva). Lord Shiva is a god of creation, preservation, and destruction. That’s why the celebration of Maha Shivaratri is held with great joy, enthusiasm, and devotion every year. There is a national holiday in Shivaratri every year in Nepal so that it can be celebrated all over Nepal by the devotees.
Nepal has a number of Shiva temples where this festival is celebrated in the way that you will surely want to experience it once in your life, especially in the UNESCO World Heritage Site Pashupathinath Temple. Further in this article, we are also going to tell you how are the scenario and the environment of temples during Maha Shivaratri.
Unlike the most Hindu festivals, Shivaratri is celebrated at night. Since Maha Shivaratri is a festival that marks the remembrance of “overcoming darkness and ignorance” in life and the world, devotees remember Lord Shiva by chanting prayers & sacred mantra of Lord Shiva “Om Namah Shivaya”, fasting, meditating, wishing for honesty, forgiveness, charity, and many other ethics, and seeking for the discover of Lord Shiva. Many devotees stay awakened the entire night chanting the slogan “OM NAHAM SHIVAYA & MAHAMRITYUNJAYA mantras”.
On this day, married women perform fasting and prayers to Lord Shiva for the well of their husband while unmarried perform for getting an ideal husband like Lord Shiva. Devotees gather to all the Shiva Temple all over Nepal to perform pooja and seek blessings from Lord Shiva.
Attractions Of Maha Shivaratri In Nepal
Although Maha Shivaratri is celebrated widely all over Nepal, the major attraction of this festival is seen and experienced in the biggest temple of Lord Shiva Pashupatinath Temple. If you will visit Nepal in the month of February/March, you will be going to have once in a lifetime experience during this festival at Pashupatinath Temple.
It’s a one-day celebrating festival and millions of devotees visit Pashupatinath Temple. That’s the preparation for Maha Shivaratri at Pashupatinath Temple begins more than a month before.
On the day of Maha Shivaratri, the Nepal Army organizes a spectacular ceremony at Army Pavillion, Tundikhel. Flowers are offered to the Pashupatinath Temple like rains from the helicopter by Nepal Army.
Devotees aren’t only from Nepal, thousands of devotees and sages come from India to visit Pashupatinath. Being one of the holiest shrines among the Hindus and the biggest temple of Lord Shiva in Nepal, devotees visit this temple on the holy eve of Shivaratri.
Not only do devotees and sages come, but many tourists from different countries also come to witness this ocean of devotees and sages. Sages(Sadhu babas) come from different parts of Nepal and India. Some are entirely covered in ashes while some remain entirely naked. Tourists from different countries come to observe the eccentric sadhu babas in a meditative state, praying to Lord Shiva. Besides meditating, these sadhu babas can be seen smoking Chilam. The atmosphere around the Pashupati Temple on this day is something that is worth experiencing.
Significance Of Maha Shivaratri
Like every Hindu festival, there are many significances of celebrating Maha Shivaratri. Maha Shivaratri signifies many things. It is said that this is the night when Lord Shiva performs Tandav dance, a dance of creating, preservation, and destruction.
So, the chanting of hymns, mantras, and OM NAHAM SHIVAY, the reading of Shiva scriptures, and the chorus of devotees joins this cosmic dance and remembers Shiva’s presence everywhere.
This festival also signifies the union of Lord Shiva and Mata Parvati. It is believed this is the night when Shiva and Parvati got married.
We hope you like reading this article on the celebration of Maha Shivaratri in Nepal. No matter how much you will read about this festival, the real experience of this widely celebrated festival in Nepal can be done by visiting the Shiva temples in the country, especially Pashupatinath Temple as told earlier. If you are a foreigner and are planning to visit Nepal in the month of February/March, there is a high probability of you experiencing Maha Shivaratri. We may have missed some more information about this festival. If you know some more interesting things about Maha Shivaratri, then do let us know. You can also share this post to let others know about this festival.
Maha Shivaratri will be celebrated in Nepal on March 1(Falgun 17) in 2022.
Shivaratri is one of the major and most celebrated festivals that is celebrated annually in Nepal. This festival is dedicated to Lord Shiva, and is also known as “The Great Night Of Lord Shiva”.
Yes, on the auspicious occasion of Maha Shivaratri, the Government Of Nepal announces a national holiday every year.
The major difference between Shivaratri and Maha Shivaratri is that Shivaratri occurs every month and Maha Shivaratri is the great holy night of Lord Shiva that occurs once a year according to the Hindu calendar.