Maha Shivaratri: The Night of Shiva

The celebration of Shivaratri in honor of Shiva is at the beginning of the spring season. Shivaratri is the day when Shiva and Parvati got married. So this festival is a celebration of their divine union. Shiva also performed on this night the Tandava or the dance. In this festival, the unmarried girls pray to have a good husband. Disciples prepare bhang, the favorite food of Shiva.

The Dionysia were pagan celebrations dedicated to god Dionysus in ancient Greece. The Great Dionysia got held in Athens between the months of March - April of the Julian calendar. The central element was the solemn processions. People prayed for the fertility of the fields.

The Bacchanalia was an orgiastic festival. It later became a time for the propitiation of the gods during sowing and harvesting. People gathered in a symbolic place where animal sacrifices were also practiced. The orgies that took place were also aimed at the propitiation. The festivities was time for shepherds to celebrate who came back after an entire season.

Shiva represents destruction in the Indian mythology. But, he was not mentioned in the Vedas. Hence the question of finding his identity in Vedic literature is controversial. As per archaic myth, his consort is Parvati. Shiva shares several features with Rudra. In the post-Vedic period, the use of the epithet came to overcome the original theorem. The name of Rudra was synonymous with Shiva. Rudra did what is outside the norm, who did not act and live like everyone else. He was wild, untamed and dangerous. Rudra loses influence to almost disappear completely in favor of the newcomer Shiva.

Shiva's symbol was the trident. The animals sacred to him were the bull and the snake. Sometimes, he is doing his dance of destruction called Tandava. He is often represented with snakes, holding his trident.

The best-known myth is about Kamadeva. On a perennial spring, flowers bloomed, and the bees were buzzing among the flowers. Cuckoos sang and a fragrant breeze began to float in the forest. Kamadeva got annihilated in the hands of Shiva, who resolved to help the maid Parvati to gain the love of Shiva. He burned Kamadeva to ashes and later the qualities of Kama got taken over by Shiva.

Epithets of Shiva draw him as a paternalistic God. Shiva's first love was Sati. The nature of Vishnu and Shiva is often the subject of debate. There are plenty of arguments for both positions.

Shiva lingam is an important exception. Some believe that the cult of lingam was a feature of the ancient cultures of India. The lingam also represents the pillar.

In pagan religions, the phallus was the symbol of the cosmogony of the male member in erection. For centuries it has been the subject of power, taboos, and mystery.

The paintings of the Villa of the Mysteries in Pompeii give us an idea of the rituals. The phallus played a major role in the worship of Dionysus in Greece, and Osiris in Egypt. A phallic symbolism was even found in the megaliths in Brittany, Corsica, and England.

In Roman art, the phallus was often depicted in frescoes and mosaics. It was generally placed at the entrance of houses and patrician houses. The erect penis was in fact considered an amulet against the evil eye and envy. For this, the phallus was also used as a necklace around the neck or arm. Also in Rome, noble virgins before marriage, made a special prayer to Priapus.

Worship by Indian cults of phallic-like stones dates back to prehistoric times. These can be of soapstone, sandstone or baked clay. Some are unmistakable in their naturalistic interpretation. The phallic cult spread throughout the Indian subcontinent from the Chalcolithic period. It became immediately associated with the religious ritual magic of that time.

Dionysus in the Greek gods is a god of wine, joy, grapes, fertility, of madness and ecstasy. He was often equated with Lakchos and is the youngest of the great Greek gods. Dionysos was born on Mount Nysa.

Nysa is a name attributed to different mountains and places. We find a list of the following localizations, named by ancient authors as the locations of Nysa. Arabia, Ethiopia, Egypt, Thrace, Cilicia, India, Libya, Lydia, Macedonia, Naxos, and Syria. On Mount Meru, there was once a city called Nysa, where there was also a Dionysos. On this mountain Meros the ivy and the vine, important symbols of Dionysus, is native.

According to the most famous history, Dionysus is the son of Zeus and Semele. In human form, Zeus had a secret love with Semele, daughter of King Cadmus of Thebes. Hera had persuaded Semele, in a disguise to burn herself. Since she had already been pregnant with Dionysus, Zeus had taken her child to herself. Zeus loved his son, which caused the jealousy of Hera. Zeus gave him to the nymphs of Mount Nysa, who nursed the child in a cave and fed with milk and honey. His nurse was Ino, the sister of Semele.

Hera sensed the new abode of Dionysus and punished Ino and her husband Athamas with madness. In this state, Athamas killed one of his sons, but Ino jumped into the sea with her other son to kill herself. She drove the Titans to kill Dionysus. Zeus punished this deed by destroying the Titans with a flash. To his old enemy Hera, he was still a thorn in the eye.

The nymphs had an enemy in the Thracian king Lycurgus. One day he pursued the nurses of Dionysus and drove them with whips so that they fled aloud in all directions. Dionysus had no choice but to jump into the sea. There Thetis offered him protection until he was grown into a youth. Dionysus had not forgotten the misdeeds of Lycurgus. He struck him with madness and so revenged the innocent nymphs.

Later, he headed east to India, defeating many opponents along his way. He defeated the Indian King Deriades.

Ariadne is the wife of Dionysus. She was a mortal woman before Dionysos raised her - like his mother Semele - to the goddess. Dionysus gave Ariadne a wreath with precious stones, a gift which he had once given Aphrodite. Dionysos is usually presented with ivy or vine grapes and grapes. Its attributes are the Thyrsos and the Kantharos (drinking vessel for wine). He is often portrayed with panther or tiger fur.

Usually, he embodies the fertility of the untamed nature. Dionysus from a branch of fig tree created a Phallos of wood and sat on it. He was especially worshiped by women, the maenads. In their orgiastic rites, wild animals got eaten and free love enjoyed between the sexes. They danced accompanied by flutes, timpani, and tambourines. The earliest maenads wore tame serpents around his arm, and the god appeared to them as a bull. As a solver, he unleashed the people, freed them of worries and let walls collapse.

His animal form was the bull, which connects him to his father Zeus. In Rome, the Dionysia got celebrated as the Bacchanalia, with Dionysos as Bacchus.