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It seems people seem to be mentioning benifits of staying awake during the MahaShivatri festival. What is the time in the morning till which they have to stay awake? Does it end after midnight 12 o'clock?

EDIT: Also please mention the best way to stay awake, like doing poojas, listening bhajans, staying in a meditation posture (IS playing video games, watching movies even benificial?)

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    It doesn't end at midnight, till around sun rise, approx. 6 AM. After that you can break your fast if you are fasting.
    – Just_Do_It
    Commented Feb 21, 2020 at 16:22
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    Till sunrise the next day. The Mahashivaratri night (and not the day) is the most important time for worshipping Lord Shiva. And during the night a time period (called Nishita Kala) is again the most important time. It falls around midnight. But that does not mean that everything comes to end at midnight. The pujas, the fast and the night vigil continue till sunrise the next day.
    – Rickross
    Commented Feb 22, 2020 at 5:41
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    @Rickross , any scriptures that describe/mention this? Also, please take a look at the edit
    – juztcode
    Commented Feb 22, 2020 at 5:56

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In Mahashivaratri, the principle rituals like Pujas and fasts are done during night. And, when one is fasting it is obvious that he has to stay awake during that period. So, devotees usually spend the whole night awake.

Almost all Puranas talk about this great Vrata.

From Garuda Purana:

This austerity is related with the worship of Lord Shiva and a fast is observed on the fourteenth day of the dark half of the Hindu month Falgun. A devotee should observe fast in the night and worship Lord Shiva by chanting ‘Om Namah Shivay’. He should perform ‘havan’ with black sesame seeds and worship Lord Shiva at midnight, in the third and the fourth ‘prahar'(one prahar equals three hour) with appropriate rituals. One who observes fast on this day gets all his wishes fulfilled and attains salvation as well. A devotee who observes Shiva Ratri fast for twelve successive years acquires knowledge, wealth, success and happiness. Such a man also attains to Shiva loka after his death.


And, similarly from the Shiva Purana:

Shivaratri is the tithi (lunar day) on which Brahma and Vishnu had worshipped Shiva. A vrata is a special religious rite that is performed. A vrata observed on shivaratri (the night dedicated to Shiva) is particularly important. It brings undying punya. One stays up at night and prays to a linga. One also has to observe a fast.


So, as observed, the best methods of staying awake will be offering prayers and engaging oneself in other such devotional activities (for example listening to religious discourses) but anything that helps keep you awake will do IMO.

I have seen many Puja associations (in my place) organizing movie shows each year throughout the night so that devotees can pass the entire night without falling asleep but those methods obviously can not have an explicit approval of the scriptures.

In some Vratas, Ratri Jagaran (night vigil) is prescribed. This Vrata is one of them.

And no it does not end at midnight. The fast and night vigil continue till the sunrise on the next day.

There is a specific time period for breaking the fast on the next day morning starting from the sunrise time on that day. This is called the Parana period.

For the place you are in, you can check this period from Drikpanchang.com. For my place, for example, the details are as follows:

  • On 22nd Feb, Shivaratri Parana Time - 06:04 AM to 02:43 PM
  • Ratri First Prahar Puja Time - 05:36 PM to 08:43 PM
  • Ratri Second Prahar Puja Time - 08:43 PM to 11:50 PM
  • Ratri Third Prahar Puja Time - 11:50 PM to 02:57 AM, Feb 22
  • Ratri Fourth Prahar Puja Time - 02:57 AM to 06:04 AM, Feb 22
  • Chaturdashi Tithi Begins - 05:20 PM on Feb 21, 2020
  • Chaturdashi Tithi Ends - 07:02 PM on Feb 22, 2020

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