Maha Shivratri is a Hindu festival celebrated annually in honour of the god Shiva. The name also refers to the night when Shiva performs the heavenly dance. There is a Shivratri in every lunisolar month of the Hindu calendar, on the month’s 13th night/14th day, but once a year in late winter(February/March, or Phalguna) and before the arrival of summer, marks Maha Shivratri which means the “Great Night of Shiva”.
The festival is celebrated in a big way across all parts of India and this is solemn and marks a remembrance of “overcoming darkness and ignorance” in life and the world. It is observed by remembering Shiva and chanting prayers, fasting, and meditating on ethics and virtues such as honesty, non-injury to others, charity, forgiveness, and the discovery of Shiva. The ardent devotees keep awake all night. Others visit one of the Shiva temples or go on pilgrimage to Jyotirlingams.
Why should one keep fast or vrat on this auspicious day?
- Setting the mental stage for deep meditation: Fasting detoxifies the body and purifies the mind. Your body feels lighter and your mind feels more relaxed as restlessness reduces. At the same time, the mind becomes more alert. When that happens, it is more prepared for prayer, and meditation, which is the central aspect of the Mahashivratri celebration.
- Increases the power of your prayers: When both your mind and body are detoxified, there is greater strength in your intention and prayers. When you combine the Shivratri fast with meditation, you increase the possibility of your desires getting manifested. It is said that Lord Shiva’s grace is bestowed upon you when you observe the Shivratri vrat with sincerity and devotion; your wishes are fulfilled!
- Absolving your sins: Fasting frees the mind of negative emotions such as greed, lust, anxiety. It is believed that when you fast and chant the Lord’s names, you are absolved of all your sins. Some people remain on very little easily digestible food or simply water and milk.
What to eat on Mahashivratri day?
Sabudana khichdi is a Maharashtrian dish made with soaked sabudana, potatoes and peanuts. Sabudana khichdi is a perfect food for those on a fast or vrat and it is also made in many households as breakfast. It is mostly prepared during fasting days like Navratri, Ekadashi and Mahashivratri.
How to soak Sabudana?
Rinse one cup of Sabudana a couple of times in running water until all the starch is washed away. Soak the sabudana in water. The water level can be 1 inch above the sabudana. Soak the Sabudana overnight or for 5-6 hours. To check if the Sabudana has become soft or not, you should be easily able to press the sabudana and it should get mashed up easily. If there is some hardness in the centre of the sabudana, then add a few tablespoons of water to the bowl. Cover and leave for 30 minutes more.
Preparation time – 20 minutes
Cooking time – 10 minutes
Serves – 5
3 cup soaked sabudana
1 tbsp peanut oil or ghee
2 medium-sized boiled, peeled, chopped potatoes
3-4 finely chopped green chillies
¾ cup roasted peanuts powder(coarsely)
1 tsp jeera
Salt to taste
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp red chilli powder (optional)
½ cup grated coconut (optional)
- Mix the coarsely powdered peanuts, salt, sugar, lemon juice with the soaked sabudana.
- Now heat peanut oil or ghee, add cumin seeds they will crackle and get browned in one minute. Now add chopped green chillies, potatoes and saute for a minute.
- Add the sabudana mixture, mix together everything well. Add 2 tbsp milk.
- Cover with lid and cook till sabudana becomes translucent. It will take around 5 minutes.
- Do not overcook as they might become lumpy and hard.
- Sabudana khichdi is ready, garnished with grated coconut. Serve hot as it is or with curd!!