Feb 252017
 

Maha Shivaratri, meaning ‘the great night of Shiva’, was celebrated by Hindus the world over on Feburary 24 with full vigour. The annual festival marks the day on which Hindu God ‘Shiva’ saved the universe by drinking poison and also the day he was married to the Goddess Parvati.

Often referred to as Shivaratri, the festival is celebrated by most during the day, while others hold all-night vigils to celebrate the event which falls on a day in the most holy month of the Hindu calendar year. Hindu holy men also known as Sandhus smoke cannabis and smear their bodies with ash and paint to imitate God Shiva. Fasting and the consumption of easily digested items such as milk, fruit, almonds, peanuts and honey are also common traditional practices throughout the day.

Here we look at 20 incredible pictures of Hindus commemorating the occasion.

An Indian priest pours milk ocer a Shiva Lingam, a stone sculpture representing the phallus of Hindu god Lord Shiva. PHOTO: AFP

An Indian priest pours milk ocer a Shiva Lingam, a stone sculpture representing the phallus of Hindu god Lord Shiva. PHOTO: AFP

A Nepalese Hindu Sadhu (Holy man) smears coloured paste onto his forehead near the Pashupatinath Temple during the Hindu festival Maha Shivaratri in Kathmandu. PHOTO: AFP

A Nepalese Hindu Sadhu (Holy man) smears coloured paste onto his forehead near the Pashupatinath Temple during the Hindu festival Maha Shivaratri in Kathmandu. PHOTO: AFP

An artisan adorns an idol of Hindu Lord Shiva, which will be used to decorate a pandal, or a temporary platform, ahead of the Hindu festival of Maha Shivaratri in Kolkata. PHOTO: REUTERS

An artisan adorns an idol of Hindu Lord Shiva, which will be used to decorate a pandal, or a temporary platform, ahead of the Hindu festival of Maha Shivaratri in Kolkata. PHOTO: REUTERS

A man works to set up a curtain at the premises of Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal. PHOTO: REUTERS

A man works to set up a curtain at the premises of Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal. PHOTO: REUTERS

A Hindu devotee pours milk over a Shivling (a symbol of Lord Shiva) outside a temple in Kolkata, India. PHOTO: REUTERS

A Hindu devotee pours milk over a Shivling (a symbol of Lord Shiva) outside a temple in Kolkata, India. PHOTO: REUTERS

A musical instrument is pictured on the feet of a Hindu holy man, or sadhu, as he sits at the premises of Pashupatinath Temple during the Shivaratri festival in Kathmandu, Nepal. PHOTO: REUTERS

A musical instrument is pictured on the feet of a Hindu holy man, or sadhu, as he sits at the premises of Pashupatinath Temple during the Shivaratri festival in Kathmandu, Nepal. PHOTO: REUTERS

A Hindu priest makes a blessing for a devotee by praying and fasting for an entire day as they hold a night-long vigil at a Hindu temple in Colombo. PHOTO: REUTERS

A Hindu priest makes a blessing for a devotee by praying and fasting for an entire day as they hold a night-long vigil at a Hindu temple in Colombo. PHOTO: REUTERS

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Sri Lankan Hindu devotee offers prayers while holding an oil lamp at a Hindu temple in Colombo. PHOTO: REUTERS

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A Hindu holy man, or sadhu, smokes marijuana at Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal. PHOTO: REUTERS

Hindu devotees gather inside a temple with their offerings in Kolkata, India. PHOTO: REUTERS

Hindu devotees gather inside a temple with their offerings in Kolkata, India. PHOTO: REUTERS

Sri Lankan Hindu devotees pray during the Maha Shivaratri festival. PHOTO: AFP

Sri Lankan Hindu devotees pray during the Maha Shivaratri festival. PHOTO: AFP

Nepalese Hindu devotees sit near the Pashupatinath temple on the eve of the Hindu festival Maha Shivaratri in Kathmandu. PHOTO: AFP

Nepalese Hindu devotees sit near the Pashupatinath temple on the eve of the Hindu festival Maha Shivaratri in Kathmandu. PHOTO: AFP

Nepalese Hindu devotees sit near the Pashupatinath temple on the eve of the Hindu festival Maha Shivaratri in Kathmandu . PHOTO: AFP

Nepalese Hindu devotees sit near the Pashupatinath temple on the eve of the Hindu festival Maha Shivaratri in Kathmandu . PHOTO: AFP

A Nepalese Sadhu (Hindu holy man) stretches his beard out at the Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu. PHOTO: AFP

A Nepalese Sadhu (Hindu holy man) stretches his beard out at the Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu. PHOTO: AFP

Sri Lankan Hindu devotees pray at a Hindu temple in Colombo. PHOTO: AFP

Sri Lankan Hindu devotees pray at a Hindu temple in Colombo. PHOTO: AFP

Sri Lankan Hindu devotee offers prayers while holding an oil lamp at a Hindu temple in Colombo. PHOTO: AFP

Sri Lankan Hindu devotee offers prayers while holding an oil lamp at a Hindu temple in Colombo. PHOTO: AFP

An Indian vendor prepares Ghuta - a drink made from marijuana and milk - for sale at The Lord Shiva Temple in Guwahati. PHOTO: AFP

An Indian vendor prepares Ghuta – a drink made from marijuana and milk – for sale at The Lord Shiva Temple in Guwahati. PHOTO: AFP

Light illuminates a Hindu holy man, or sadhu, as he sits at the premises of Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal. PHOTO: REUTERS

Light illuminates a Hindu holy man, or sadhu, as he sits at the premises of Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal. PHOTO: REUTERS

An Indian priest pours milk ocer a Shiva Lingam, a stone sculpture representing the phallus of Hindu god Lord Shiva. PHOTO: AFP

An Indian priest pours milk ocer a Shiva Lingam, a stone sculpture representing the phallus of Hindu god Lord Shiva. PHOTO: AFP

A Hindu holy man, or sadhu, closes his eyes as smoke covers his face at the premises of Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal. PHOTO: REUTERS

A Hindu holy man, or sadhu, closes his eyes as smoke covers his face at the premises of Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal. PHOTO: REUTERS

The post 20 incredible pictures of Hindus celebrating Maha Shivaratri Festival appeared first on The Express Tribune.

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