India is well known globally as the land of festivals with its rich cultural heritage. Mahashivratri is an important Hindu festival that is totally dedicated to Lord Shiva – One of the trinity Gods of Hindu religion.
As per Hindu mythology Lord Shiva is known as destroyer of the evil. Mahashivratri is regarded as an auspicious night for celebration when Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati Devi. Another legend as per Shiv Purana (a genre of Hindu religious text dedicated to Shiva) for the celebration of Mahashivratri is that Shiva on this day saved the world from the effects of poison that emerged during churning up of the Milk Ocean. The other popular Hindu legend is that on this day, Shiva performed the cosmic dance (Tandava) to destroy the evil forces.
Mahashivratri is celebrated on the 14th day of Maaga Maasam as per the South Indian calendar and in Phalguna Maasam (North Indian calendar) in the Krishna Paksham or the darker fortnight or phase of the moon. This period usually coincides with in the month of February/March.
The importance of mahashivratri is such that this festival is celebrated by Hindus all over India and those settled in the other parts of the world with utmost devotion by fasting on this day and involving themselves in various religious activities.
The Shiva temples across the world remain open with devotees thronging these temples to worship Shiva in the form of Lingam. It is to be noted that Shivarathi is festival that is marked with a Public holiday in India and across other nation where a good percentage of Hindu population resides.