MahaShivaratri, or Maha Shivaratri (Night of Shiva) is a Hindu festival, celebrated all over the country with great enthusiasm.
The festival usually falls every year on the 13th night/14th day in the Krishna Paksha of the month of Maagha (as per Shalivahana) or Phalguna (as per Vikrama) in the Hindu calendar.
The festival is exclusively dedicated to Lord Shiva who is known by hundreds of names.
Maha Shivratri is the day to rejoice…to pray to the almighty for wellness. Almost all Hindus throughout the world offer prayers in the morning/evening and some observe fasting ( vrata) throughout the day. Most people visit the nearby temples of Shiva and offer prayers in large crowds.
The prayers and worship continue throughout the night and the devotees offer coconut, Bilva leaves, fruits and specially prepared sacred food to Shiva and his divine consort Parvati.
As this is a dark fortnight, devotees light candles and diyas (a lamp made usually of clay, with wick made of cotton and dipped in ghee) throughout the night – this is a symbol of spiritual manifestation.