Different communities unite to celebrate Maha Shivaratri

Communal harmony, peace and brotherhood can be best witnessed during the celebration of different festivals on our incredible land. The scene was no different during Maha Shivratri celebrations, which was celebrated in different parts of the country by different communities. Maha Shivratri, which literally means "the great night of Shiva", is celebrated on the new moon day in the month of Maagha according to the Hindu calendar. The day is celebrated to venerate Lord Shiva, an important deity in Hindu culture. Though, it is Hindu festival, it is equally rejoiced by other communities as well. Shiva temples across the country were all decked up ahead of the festivities. Several devotees thronged the temple during the festival and offered milk, yoghurt, ghee, sugar and water, believed to be Lord Shiva's favorite. Nightlong vigil or "jaagran" was also observed at various temples during the festival. Numerous devotees took part in the Jaagran and spendt the night singing hymns and songs to honor Lord Shiva. Several people kept fast on the night of Shivratri and break it next morning after having the "prasad" or religious offerings offered to the Lord. These holy rituals were not only performed by Hindus but by people of other religious communities as well. The most popular Shivrati celebrations took place in Vadodara. Large processions were carried out throughout the city to mark the day. People thronged the streets to catch a glimpse of the Shiv Parivaar Yatra in which large idols of Lord Shiva, Parvati and Nandi are pulled by thousands of devotees. It was then followed by several cultural dance performances and also the Tableau of Shiv Parivar. Hundreds of devotees danced to the beats of the drum during the Yatra. There are several folklores behind celebrating this festival. During Mahashivratri people belonging to different religious communities assembled at various Shiva temples across the country, thus making the festival an epitome of communal harmony.