The Mahashivratri fasting begins on the morning of Shivratri and ends next day morning or the Amavasya morning. Since it is a long Upvaas or Vrat, many people consume a special meal known as ‘phalar.’ The fasting involves refraining from eating any food and not sleeping through out the night.
It is suggested to have only single meal a day before Maha Shivaratri fasting. It is one of the common practices during fasting
to make sure any undigested food is not left in the digestion system
on the fasting day.
On the day of Shivaratri, one should get up early in the morning and take bath. It is suggested to add black sesame seeds into the
water. It is believed that the holy bath on the day of Shivaratri
purifies not only the body but also the soul. If possible bathing in
Ganges is preferred.
After taking bath devotees should take Sankalp (संकल्प) to observe full day fast and to break the fast on the next day. During Sankalp
devotees pledge for self-determination throughout the fasting period
and seek blessing of Lord Shiva to finish the fast without any
interference. Hindu fasts are strict and people pledge for
self-determination and seek God blessing before starting them to
finish them successfully.
Devotees should abstain from all type of food during the fasting. In the strict form of fasting even water is not allowed. However,
consumption of fruits and milk is suggested during day time which
should be followed by strict fasting during night. In other words
during day time fruits and milk can be consumed.
Devotees should take second bath in the evening before doing Shiva Puja or visiting temple. If one is not able to visit the temple then
makeshift Shiva Ling can be made to perform Puja activities. One can
even shape the mud in Linga form and apply Ghee to perform Abhishek
Puja at home.
Shiva Puja should be done during night. Shivaratri Puja can be performed one time or four times during the night. The whole night
duration can be divided into four to get four Prahar (प्रहर) to
perform Shiva Puja four times. Devotees who want to perform single
Puja should do it during midnight.
As per Puja Vidhi, Abhishek of Shiva Lingam should be performed with different materials. The milk, rose water, sandalwood paste,
yogurt, honey, Ghee, sugar and the water are commonly used for
Abhishek. Devotees, who perform four Prahar Puja, must perform water
Abhishek during first Prahar, curd Abhishek during second Prahar, Ghee
Abhishek during third Prahar and honey Abhishek during fourth Prahar
apart from other materials.
After the Abhishek ritual, Shiva Linga is adorned with the garland made of Bilva leaves. It is believed that Bilva leaves cool down Lord
After that Chandan or Kumkum is applied to the Shiva Linga which is followed by lighting lamp and Dhupa. The other items which are used to
adorn Lord Shiva include flower of Madar (मदार) which is also known as
Aak (आक), Vibhuti which is also known as Bhasm. Vibhuti is sacred ash
which is made using dried cow dung.
The mantra to chant during Puja duration is ॐ नमः शिवाय (Om Namah Shivaya).
Devotees should break the fast next day after taking bath. Devotees should break the fast between sunrise and before the end of
Chaturdashi Tithi to get maximum benefit of the Vrat.
food we can eat while observing Shivaratri Fast
Majority of Hindus who observe Shivratri fast opt for a fruit diet –
they eat fruits and drink lots of water on the day. Some people also
Some devotees consume a mid-day meal (noon) consisting of non-cereal
food such as boiled potatoes which is made into a curry without onion,
garlic, adarak (ginger) or haldi (turmeric).
In some regions people eat Sabudana (Tapioca) Khichdi or Upma.
Some Hindu communities eat a special meal known as ‘phalar’ at noon.
Another food eaten on the day is pakori or Kutt Singahri ki puri.
No meal is eaten after sunset on Shivaratri day.
Next meal is taken on the morning of Amavasya (next day morning) after
doing puja and giving alms.