Shivratri or Maha Shivaratri is one of the major Hindu festivals celebrated with gaiety. Shivratri 2013 or Maha Shivaratri 2013 date is March 10, Sunday.
Maha Shivaratri is observed on Krishna Paksha Trayodasi / Chaturdashi in Falgun month as per North Indian calendars and Krishna Trayodasi / Chaturdashi in Magha month as per Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh calendars.
Devotees observe upvas (fasting) and Jagran on Shivratri to get blessings of Lord Shiva. In USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Maha Shivratri 2013 date is 10 March.
In the Puranas many kathas (stories and legends) explained the origin and significance of the festival Maha Shivaratri. As per one, during the period of churning the ocean (sagar manthan) by the gods and the demons, a pot of poison (Kaal koot) emerged from the ocean. This sudden incident terrified the dev ganas and asura ganas as the poison was capable of creating mahapralaya (deluge), which can destroy the entire universe.
To save themselves and the universe they went to Lord Shiva for help. For the worlds safer existence and the survival of living beings, Shiva drank the ‘Kaal koot visha (terrible poison). But, instead of swallowing he kept it in his throat. Keeping the deadly poison in his throat made Shivas throat turn blue. Because of this great miracle Shiva is also called Neelakanta, the one who has blue throat.
To commemorate the event of Shiva protecting the world with his miraculous act, we celebrate Maha Shivrathri.