With Mahashivratri falling on the 24th of this month, Lord Shiva devotees across the world are yet again preparing themselves to appease their favourite deity with their love and devotion. One characteristic feature of this auspicious occasion is marked by fasting, where the devotees follow a special diet throughout the day. It consists largely of fruits along with plenty of water and milk which keeps them hydrated. The Mahashivaratri fast or vrata is considered to be very important for the devotees of Lord Shiva, with some of them touting it equal to performing an Ashwamedha Yagna. According to ancient scriptures, if a devotee observes the vrata with utmost sincerity, Lord Shiva absolves him of all his sins and liberates him of the cycle of life and death.
The Mahashivratri fasting begins on the morning of Shivratri and ends next day morning or the amavasya morning. Since it is a long upvaas or vrat, many people consume a special meal known as phalar.
Majority of Hindus on Mahashivratri wake up and don fresh new clothes after a bath and head straight to the nearest Lord Shiva temple to place their offerings in the form of milk, fruits and bael leaves. Some also offer honey, curd, ghee and sweets alongside milk, and light incense sticks and ring the temple bell to invoke the blessing of Lord Shiva. Unlike other Hindu festivals, where after performing the puja of the deity a feast follows, on Shivratri the fast continues all through the day and night. Devotees observe an all-night vigil while chanting hymns in praise of Lord Shiva. Even during the night, Shiva Lings are given holy bath every three hours.
While some devotees opt for a full fasting without consuming a single drop of water, for many others it is not a practical option due to illness, job or old-age, therefore they have a special meal marking their Shivratri Vrat, laden with fruits, milk and water. No meal is eaten after sunset on Shivaratri day. Next meal is taken on the morning of Amavasya (next day morning) after doing puja.
Mahashivratri Special Diet
Here is a brief note on the food that is eaten on Mahashivratri -
- Non-cereal food such as boiled potatoes which is made into a curry without onion, garlic, ginger or turmeric, characterises a typical Shivratri meal of the afternoon, also known as phalar in some communities.
- Sabudana (tapioca) khichdi, upma, pakora and kuttu singahri ka puri are some popular dishes consumed by devotees across the world.
- You can also try making sweet dishes thandai, lauki ka halwa, kaju katli, pumpkin pancakes, and others
- For snacks, try aloo tikki, aloo pakoda, raw banana vadas, singhada flour pakoda, sweet patato chaat, paneer and aloo chat (without spices).