The Significance of Maha Shivratri

Maha Shivratri, which translates to, "the great night of Shiva," celebrates two main events: 

1) Wedding of Shiva and Parvati - although they ended up having a "happily ever after," their relationship had a bit of a bumpy start. Keep reading to learn more.

2) Tandava Nritya - this is the cosmic dance of creation, preservation, and destruction performed by Shiva, which represents the cyclical nature of the universe. Just as the universal law of gravitation states that what goes up must eventually come down, everything that's created must eventually be destroyed. 

In 2024, Maha Shivratri falls on Friday, March 8, 2024. 

How Shiva and Parvati Got Married

Shiva: "Listen Sati, I really don't think it's a good idea for you to go to the yagna if your Dad didn't invite you to it."

Sati: "Oh c'mon Shiv! He obviously meant to. I'm his favorite daughter. It probably just slipped his mind."

Shiva: "No, I think it was intentional. He never wanted us to get married in the first place. And on top of that, he got really mad at me the last time he saw me."

Sati: "You mean at the yagna at my grandfather's house? What happened?"

Shiva: "You don't remember? I didn't stand up to greet your Father when he arrived at the yagna."

Sati: "Oh... right... and neither did I since I was just taking your lead. Well, I'm going to go to the yagna anyway."

Shiva: "As you wish, but I'm not coming this time."

Sati: "No worries, I'm sure my Dad wouldn't want me to miss out and will be so happy to see me!"

Sati, what are you doing at my yagna?!  I never invited you! Omg Dad, how can you say that?? Shiva was right. I shouldn't have come here. You and your husband might as well be dead to me. FINE! If that's how you really feel about me...

Not only was Sati furious and insulted, but felt guilty for not believing her husband. So as penance, she threw herself in a fire and killed herself.

When Shiva heard the news, he renounced his duties and went into a deep meditation. As you can imagine, when one of the three primary Gods doesn't do his part, the world soon falls out of balance.

So, to save the world, Sati was reborn as Goddess Parvati.
Her plan was simple:

1. Wake up Shiva from his trance
2. Win Shiva's heart and marry him
3. Fill the void in his heart from Sati's death

...But Parvati couldn't even manage to get Shiva's attention despite her many, umm feminine ways😉

Parvati then turned to Kamadeva, the "God of Love" -- or cupid, if you will. Kamadeva knew better than to mess with Shiva, but in order to re-instill balance in the world, Shiva needed to "snap out of it." So, Kamadeva shot his cupid-arrow straight into Shiva's heart.

The good news is that the arrow worked in getting Shiva to agree to marry Parvati.

The bad news is that Shiva was helluva pissed and burnt Kamadeva to ashes.

But now, Kamadeva's wife, Rati, was (naturally) very upset! After she told Shiva the whole story, she asked him to revive Kamadeva, to which Shiva happily obliged.

deities sitting on big bird

Celebrate Maha Shivratri With Kids With These Easy Arts & Crafts Activities

How to Make Shiva's Third Eye (Ajna Chakra)

Lord Shiva has many prominent characteristics, whether it's the 🐍 wrapped around his neck, the 🌙 moon on his hairbun, or the 🔱 and dumroo in his hand.

Similarly, you may have also noticed that Shiva is typically depicted with a Tilak on his forehead (the 3 white horizontal lines with one red vertical line going down the middle). This is known as Shiva's third eye, or the Ajna Chakra.

The purpose of the third eye is to help us see something that is not physical or normally can be seen with our two eyes. It symbolically refers to looking inward versus outwards. Since Shiva is all about meditation, looking internally is a big part of the practice.

What I love about this activity is that it's great for multiple ages since kids don't really need to color within the lines. Using cotton balls instead of a paint brush gives the piece a great texture and helps kids practice their fine motor skills.

Materials used:
- water color paper
- black and red color acrylic paint
- cotton balls
- Painters tape
- Q tip
- optional: a matted black frame to showcase your work of art


How to Make Shiva's Snake, Vasuki

If you're one of those people who's generally scared of snakes, then this accordian paper snake is for you. It's the kind of snake that your kids (and you) are sure to love and play with. As you try this activity at home, it's a great time to also explain the significance of the snakes seen around Lord Shiva's neck.

Its name is Vasuki, and there are various symbolic meanings behind it:

• Snakes shed their skin, representing rebirth and transformation. As the god of destruction, Shiva symbolizes his dominance over death and the cycle of rebirth.

• During the samudra manthan (churning of the ocean), Shiva was so impressed with the role Vasuki played in helping the gods, that he blessed it (and all snakes), offering them protection and shelter.

• Snakes often get a bad reputation and are associated with negativity. Thus, the snake symbolizes Shiva's ability to subdue evil.

This activity is great for ages 4+ because it entails cutting and folding and requires some level of precision. Here are the materials you'll need:
• 3 sheets of construction paper (colors of your choice)
• scissor
• glue stick or glue
• googly eyes (or you can draw your own)

That's all! If you make more than one, have them race for added fun ☺️



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Modi Toys is a children's brand of toys and books inspired by ancient Hindu culture. We exist to spread joy and to spark curiosity in the next generation through our innovative soft plush toys, illustrated children's books and free learning resources. Our weekly Theology Thursday series covers a wide range of topics rooted in Hinduism to help us better understand the origins of traditions, the symbolic meaning of rituals, and the stories behind Hindu holidays and festivals. The more we can understand "the why" behind this 4,000 year ancient religion, and make sense of it in this modern age, the greater we can appreciate and preserve our rich Hindu culture. While we take great care in thoroughly researching the information presented, we may occasionally get some things wrong. We encourage a healthy and open dialogue so we can learn together. Please leave a comment below or email us directly at to address any concerns. 


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