Shivaratri is considered to be the biggest religious event celebrated annually in Nepal with crowds filled with pilgrims and almost millions of devotees. Unlike other festivals, it is not popular among foreign toursist. Hence, the commemoration of Shivaratri is extremely surrounded by many Nepalese and locals who actually make the celebration more sacred and special.
Behind every festival lies the hidden story from where it all began. Therefore, we listed five of the many things that you need to know about the celebration of Shivaratri Festival in Nepal.
1. The Maha Shivaratri, commonly known as the "Shivaratri" is a religious event created in honor of the god "Shiva", a deity who is praised and honoured by the Hindu culture. During the festival, the devotees of Lord Shiva observe fasting during the day and afterwards, utter vigil and prayers to the Lord all throughout the night, Calendar Labs says.
This ritual was derived from the belief that through Shiva, the darkness and ignorance in a person's life will be overcome through Shiva. After the overnight fasting and worshipping, the devotees will then devour themselves to the Prasad that was offered in honor of Lord Shiva.
2. During the celebration of Maha Shivaratri, every married woman prays for their significant other's well-being. Meanwhile, women who are not in a relationship and those who still remain unmarried pray that they will find a man who possesses the same characteristics as Shiva because Hindus believe that Shiva is an epitome of an ideal husband.
3. The use of cannabis or marijuana is illegal in Nepal. However, during the celebration of Maha Shivaratri, the ban for the use of marijuana is temporarily lifted as it was used for certain religious rituals for ascetics. Ascetics are allowed to smoke and use marijuana inside the temples during the festival but they are not allowed to distribute or sell it to other pilgrims. Despite opposition from non-believers, devotees of Shiva contend that the use of cannabis during this festival helps preserve the deepness and sacredness of the rituals that are being observed.
4. The biggest gathering for the celebration of Maha Shivaratri in Nepal is in the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu. The Pashupatinath is considered to be the oldest Hindu temple in the country. According to Maha Shivaratri's official website, guests who are not Hindu are permitted from entering the said temple. Pashupatinath is located along the Bagmati River where dead people are being bathed and where the ashes from the cremations are spread.
5. What make the celebration of Maha Shivaratri more colourful are the Sadhus. These are people who cover themselves with ashes in order for them to look paler and therefore decorate their bodies with different bright and vivid colors. However, there are also some Sadhus walking around the temples naked during Shivaratri. Most Sadhus are very friendly and welcoming. They even allow the guests to take a picture with them in exchange of 50prs.
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