Herath meaning Shivratri is a festival of great value to Indians particularly Kashmiri Pandits. Shivratri is celebrated with great pomp and show in India as well as in nepal. so, here are some facts you might not know about the festival and about the rituals that are followed during the celebrations.
1) Shivratri is celebrated for the marriage of Lord Shiva and Mata Uma. Strange but true. In the kashmiri households, you see two big earthen pots filled with Walnut and water. These pots signify Shiv and Uma.
2) Why walnuts:- The festival is a treat to the people who love walnuts. Walnuts are distributed as prasad and are worshiped by keeping them inside the earthen pots. But the reason only walnuts are used is, they represent the shape of the universe.
Shocker! I know, but true.
3) Shivratri is not a one day festival, it starts 15 days before the mahashivratri night on "hur ok doh" which marks the beginning of the festival, followed by many ausipicious days like- Hurya Aatham, Dyara Daham, Vagarye Bah, Heracnia Truvah, Donya Mavas and Tila Aatham.
4) A big pot filled with water and walnuts, two medium sized pot, two small pots and seven bowls are used in the Shivratri (Herath) Puja and they are known as Watuk. This whole watuk represents Shiva, Uma, Ganpati and sapt rishis.
5) There are many stories and beliefs about this festival. Where some people celebrate Shivratri as the wedding night of Lord shiva, there are others who believe that on this day LOrd shiva manifested himself as "Ling". In both the cases, the day is of great importance to hindus.
The part of the whole shivratri celebration that is famous among children is "Salaam" celebrated th next day to shivratri night. "Salaam" an Arabic word meaning greetings. On this day, people come to greet each other and presents are distributed among children.
What else I love about this festival are the holy chants that makes me feel purity inside myself and festivity in the air.
I love various prayers too, out of which I love-
|| Yem senz kripaye asambhav sambhav chu sapdaan ||
|| Temis adidevas chas be padan pyavan ||
Meaning- The one with whose mercy, the impossible becomes possible,
I bow to his feet to attain blessings.