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Maha Sivarathri Festival - March 07 2016
 
In Kerala, month of Kumbham (February-March) is noted for Mahasivarathri (Maha Shiva rathri) and is celebrated by the Hindus. The word Mahasivarathri means `the great night of Lord Siva. The Mahasivarathri is considered a very important day for fast and Siva worship.
 
The history/legends about Mahasivarathri are :-
 
It is to commemorate the day on which lord Siva consumed the deadly poison (kalakutaviaham) to save the world from destruction.
The mother Parwathi worshipped Lord Siva with great devotion and the Lord Siva pleased by Her prayer and blessed Her. She asked for the benefit of all the creatures that in future whoever worships the Lord on the siva ratri day with devotion, they should also be blessed and should be given the ultimate liberation and it was granted.
 
When Brahma and Vishnu fought between themselves as "who is the greatest", Lord Shiva appeared before them as a pillar of fire. They were not able to find the starting and end of that pillar. This day is Thirukkaarthikai. Brahma and Mahavishnu repented for their mistake and prayed to Lord Siva for forgiving their sin worshiping the Siva lingam which was the form of the flame. In the night of Sivarathri Lord Siva appeared before them and blessed them. Devotees pray the God throughout the night of Siva rathri.

Every month in Krishna paksha chathurdhasi (fourteenth monday) is called masa Shiva rathri. The one that comes in the month of "Masi" (mid February to mid March) is called Maha Shiva rathri.

The annual Sivarathri festival held on the banks of Periyar at Alwaye is one of the most colourful local festivals of Kerala. The pilgrims keep awake the whole night and return home next morning after performing Bali.
 
 
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