What is the difference between Shivratri and Maha Shivratri?

Let us know the difference between Shivratri and Maha Shivratri...

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Posted on February 28, 2022

Many individuals are still confused about, what is the difference between Shivratri and Maha Shivratri? Shivratri and Mahashivratri are two Hindu festivals that occur on separate months and days.

Mahashivratri is a Hindu festival of unique importance. It will be commemorated this year (Maha Shivratri 2022) on March 1st. On the fasting day of Mahashivaratri, which falls on the Chaturdashi of Krishna Paksha in the Magha/Phalguna month, Goddess Parvati is worshipped with Lord Shiva. Every wish of the devotee is said to be fulfilled if Rudrabhishek is performed on this day. This day commemorates Bhagawan Shiva’s marriage to Goddess Parvati, which is celebrated by devotees with tremendous fanfare.

What is the difference between Shivratri and Maha Shivratri?c

There are 4 main Shivaratris mentioned in the Skanda Purana

  • Nitya Shivaratri
  • Masa Shivaratri
  • Magha prathamadi Shivaratri
  • Maha Shivaratri

The Nitya Shivaratri is the first one which is observed daily, that is, every night. Several worshippers attend the Shiva temples and Jyotirlings on this day. Shivratri and Mahashivratri are celebrated on separate days and months. Many individuals are still unsure about the distinction between Shivratri and Mahashivratri. So, let’s see what the distinction is between the two:

What is the significance of Shivratri?

According to the scriptures, Monday and Pradosh day are the greatest days to worship Lord Shiva.
Every month, on the Chaturdashi Tithi of Krishna Paksha, Shivratri is observed. Pradosh is another name for it. Badi Shivaratri is observed on the Hindu calendar when Pradosh falls in the month of Shravan. There are 12 Shivratris in a year in this circumstance.

According to Skanda Purana:

चतुर्द्दशी तथा शंभोः प्रिया नास्त्यत्र संशयः॥
निशीथसंयुता या तु कृष्णपक्षे चतुर्द्दशी॥
उपोष्या सा तिथिः श्रेष्ठा शिवसायुज्यकारिणी॥
शिवरात्रितिथिः ख्याता सर्वपापप्रणाशिनी॥
अत्रैवोदाहरंतीममितिहासं पुरातनम्॥

What is the significance of  Mahashivratri?

Mahashivratri is the Shivaratri that falls on the Chaturdashi date of the Krishna Paksha of the Magha/Phalguna month. This day is commemorated with a lot of fanfare across the country.
Mahashivratri is a Hindu festival that commemorates Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati’s marriage.
As a result, Shiva worshipers hold this day in high regard.

As per Naradiya Samhita , Mahashivaratri is celebrated as below:

माघेकृष्णेचतुर्दश्यामादिदेवो महानिशि ।
शिवलिंगतयॊद्भूतः कॊटिसूर्यसमप्रभः ॥

On the 14th day of Magha month, Krishna Paksha, Mahadeva showed himself as shivalinga which was as resplendant as crores of suns. Hence that is the day on which Shivaratri is celebrated with Abhisheka to Shivalinga along with chanting of Rudram !

Fasting during Maha Shivratri

The majority of Hindus who observe the Shivratri fast consume fruits and drink plenty of water throughout the day. Milk is also consumed by some people. Some devotees have a non-cereal mid-day meal consisting of boiled potatoes cooked in a curry without onion, garlic, adarak (ginger), or haldi. Sabudana Khichdi or Upma is a popular dish in several parts of India. At midday, some Hindu communities have a special meal called ‘phalar.’ Pakori, or Kutt Singahri ki puri, is another dish served on this day. On Shivaratri day, no food is consumed after sunset. After performing puja and distributing alms, the next meal is eaten on the morning of Amavasya (the next day morning).

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