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Maha Shivarathri - the Festival of Lord Shiva

Also known as Padmarajarathri in Sri Lanka is Great Night of Lord Shiva. On the 13th night / 14th night, Maagha month in the Hindu calendar; Hindu devotees pay home to Lord Shiva. Devotees get up early in the morning and take bath. Then visit the Lord Shiva Temples with pots of water to offer on the Shiva Lingam. Bells in the temples ring almost the whole day with the cry of Om Namah Shivaya. The Lingam is bathed with water, milk, honey, woodapple and bel leaves. Vermillion paste is also applied and fruits are offered. Devotees then observe fast the whole day and chant Om Namah Shivaya that go on the whole night.  

The Legend Behind Shivarathri
The Great Night of Shiva is when He got married to Goddess Parvati who is the reincarnation of Goddess Sati, Shiva’s first wife. As per legend, Sati or Shakti immolated herself in the Yagna fire as she was not able to bear the insult of Her husband Lord Shiva. Thereafter Lord Shiva lived like an ascetic till Shakti, was born again as Parvati to Lord Himalaya. She won back Lord Shiva and finally succeeded in marrying Him. Their Divine Union is a great occasion as is celebrated as Maha Shivarathri.

Celebrations Shivarathri in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has five shrines of Lord Shiva that are flocked by devotees during the Maha Shivaratri. Each one of them is considered as a pilgrimage and performs special pooja during this time.

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