Mahashivaratri is an Indian festival celebrated in the month of Phalguna in February/March. It heralds the start of the spring season and literally means the “Great Night of Shiva”. There are many stories that are connected to the origins of this festival. The most popular of these is that of Lubdhaka.
Lubdhaka was a tribal who would go into the forest everyday to collect firewood. One day, he went deep into the forest and lost his way and could not return home before nightfall. As darkness fell, he heard the growls of wild animals. Terrified, he climbed the nearest tree for shelter till morning. This happened to be a wood-apple, also known as the bel tree in Hindi.
But as he perched in the branches, he was afraid he would fall asleep and fall off the tree. To stay awake, he decided to pluck a leaf at a time from the tree and drop it, all the while chanting the name of Shiva. At dawn, he climbed down the tree, he saw a Shiva-linga at its base. He realized that he had, unknowingly, dropped a thousand leaves onto a Shiva-linga to keep himself awake. This unwitting all-night worship pleased Shiva, by whose grace the tribal was rewarded with divine bliss.
Watch the illustrated story of Lubdhaka by ribbonworks with your kids.