"Embracing the Divine Vigil: Shivaratri 2023 - A Spiritual Journey Towards Inner Awakening"

"Experience Shivaratri 2023, a significant Hindu festival devoted to Lord Shiva's honor. A night of fasting, prayer, and profound spirituality."

"Embracing the Divine Vigil: Shivaratri 2023 - A Spiritual Journey Towards Inner Awakening"

Shivaratri, celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva, is one of the most sacred festivals in Hinduism. The festival falls on the moonless 14th night of the new moon in the Hindu month of Phalgun, which corresponds to the month of February - March in English Calendar. In 2023, this auspicious occasion will be celebrated on 24th February.

On Shivaratri, Hindu devotees observe day and night fast and perform ritual worship of Shiva Lingam, embodying the deity Lord Shiva, to appease the Lord. It is believed that Shivaratri marks the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Some also believe that it was on the auspicious night of Shivaratri that Lord Shiva performed the 'Tandava', the dance of the primal creation, preservation and destruction.

Devotees start their day with a ritual bath, preferably in the holy waters of river Ganga, wear new clothes and then visit the nearest Shiva temple. The Shiva Lingam, a symbol of Lord Shiva, is bathed with milk, honey, water and bilva leaves, signifying purification of the soul. Vermilion paste is applied on the Lingam after bathing it, representing virtue.

Shivaratri is also considered very significant for women. Married and unmarried women observe fast and perform Shiva Puja with sincerity to appease Goddess Parvati, who is also regarded as 'Gaura' - the one who bestows marital bliss and long and prosperous married life. Unmarried women also pray for a husband like Lord Shiva, who is considered to be the ideal husband.

Shivaratri is not only a festival but also a day that reminds us of the values of self-restraint, honesty, forgiveness and the discovery of Shiva within our own self. The festival in 2023 will certainly be yet another opportunity for all of us to seek blessings and grace from Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. May this divine occasion illuminate our minds and guide us on the path of righteousness and virtue!