Shivaratri means «the night of Shiva».

It's celebrated in the 13th night of the dark fortnight (Krishna Paksha) as a festival, as well as a sort of vow. Bhaktas of Shiva observe an all-night-long vigil and fast, performing meditation, japa, kirtan or repeating Shiva mahimna stotram and Shiva tandava stotram. The Lingam – a symbol of Shiva - is worshipped by Abhisheka using gangajal, milk, jogurt, honey and ghee. Bael leaves, dhatura fruits, aak flowers and other are also offered to Lord Shiva.

Maha Shivaratri is celebrated every year in month Phalguna. Hundreds and thousands of followers gather in Shiva temples and perform the night-long worship. Special pujas and divine service are observed in:

  • Varanasi
  • Tarakeshvari
  • Baidyanath
  • Balkeshvar
  • Rameshvaram
  • Ujjain

In this regard a grand celebration is organised in Pashupatinath in Nepal. Believers keep a strict fast even without water. Various Deities, including Brahma and Vishna, worship him, who is also known as Mahadeva. He is the Deity, who easily grants wishes. He is a great and mighty God, one of three Hindu Deities. He is Mahakala, who destroys and dissolve everything in nothingness, but at the same time he is Shankara, who renews and reproduces what was destroyed. His Lingam embodies this reviving power. As Mahayogi or great ascetic he combines the highest perfection of asceticism with penance and unlimited meditation. In this form he is a naked ascetic or digambara. He is also called Chandrashekhara – «crowned with the moon»; Gangadhara – «hold of Ganges»; Girisha – «god of mountains»; Kala – «time»; Mahakala – «great time»; Pashupati – «Lord of animals»; Vishvanath – «Lord of the Universe» and so on.

Bhaktas of Shiva also observe Masa Shivaratri every month (monthly Shivaratri).