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Maha Shivratri

Maha Shivratri or Maha Sivaratri or Shivaratri or Sivaratri (Night of Shiva or "Great Night of Shiva") is a festival celebrated every year on the 13th night/14th day in the Krishna Paksha (waning moon) of the month of Maagha (as per Shalivahana or Gujarati Vikrama) or Phalguna (as per Vikrama) in the Hindu Calendar (that is, the night before and day of the new moon). The festival is principally celebrated by offerings of Bael (Bilva) leaves to the Lord Shiva, all day fasting and an all night long vigil. Ganja is traditionally used as an offering for Lord Shiva and his followers. Per scriptural and discipleship traditions, the penances are performed in order to gain boons in the practice of Yoga and meditation, in order to reach the goal more swiftly and avoid rebirth.

Karthigai Deepam

The Karthigai Deepam festival is celebrated in the Tamil Month of Karthigai. Krithigai is on the ascendant and usually occurs on a full moon day. This festival is also called as "the Festival of Lights". The month of Karthigai is of special importance to Tamil people, which derives its name from the star 'Krithigai'. Lord Shiva, with His divine light, created Lord Muruga, in this month legend behind the celebrations goes like this- Once upon a time the Devas, the heavenly immortals, put in their best possible efforts to have a complete Darshan of Lord Shiva. During this process Lord Brahma took the form of a swan and Lord Vishnu in the form of a boar conducted an extensive search in the sky and in the neither world did they find him Lord Shiva asked Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu to find out the exact location of his head and his feet. Since Lord Shiva took a gigantic form, they were not able to find him anywhere. Then Lord Shiva appeared before them in the form of a flaming light whose ends cannot be defined on the hill of Thiruvannamalai. Therefore, this festival is also known as Annamalai Deepam. Here, a special torch is lighted on the zenith of the hill and it is believed that Lord Shiva's Jyoti will be visible on this day. The festival is celebrated in a special manner in Thiruvannamalai.


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