Celebrations for the most sacred night of the Hindu religion, the Maha Shivaratri, will start on 8th March 2024 (Friday).
In Odisha, Maha Shivaratri is called ‘Jagar’ by many. Shivaratri celebration at Lokanath Temple, Puri is very famous. Major centers of Shivaratri celebrations in Odisha are Lingaraj temple, Akhandalamani temple, and Hattakeswar temple near Atri. Shiva temples located at Mahendragiri, Gupteswar, Kapilas, Bhubaneswar, and Khiching also draw a large of devotees from across the State.
Maha Shivaratri is celebrated on the Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi of the Hindu calendar month Maagha which falls in February or March as per the Gregorian calendar.
This day is regarded as one of the auspicious days all over India.
Legend says it was on the auspicious night of Shivaratri that Lord Shiva performed the ‘Tandava’, the dance of primal creation, preservation, and destruction. Another popular Shivaratri legend stated in Linga Purana states that it was on Shivaratri that Lord Shiva manifested himself in the form of a Linga.
The festival is principally celebrated by offerings of Bael or golden apple or Bilva/Vilvam leaves to Lord Shiva, all-day fasting, and an all-night-long vigil (jagarana). All through the day, devotees chant “Om Namah Shivaya”, a sacred Panchakshara mantra dedicated to Lord Shiva.