Maha Shivratri, ‘The Great Night of Shiva’ is the largest sacred festival nights of India. The day commemorates the marriage of the Lord and his consort, Parvati. It is also significant because the Linga form of the Lord first came into being on this day. Shivratri focuses on the power of meditation and spirituality. This festival is considered to be the meeting of Shiva and Shakti.
On Shivaratri day, after finishing morning rituals devotees should take resolution to observe full day fast on Shivaratri and to take food the next day. During the resolution, devotees pledge for self-determination throughout the fasting period and seek the blessing of Lord Shiva to finish the fast without any interference. Hindu fasts are strict and people pledge for self-determination and seek God blessing before starting them to finish them successfully.
This night also refers to the creation, preservation, and destruction of the entire universe by Shiva. In Hinduism, Shiva Lord is the creator of the universe after destroying it. Therefore, Hindus believe that Shiva’s powers of destruction and recreation of the world are beneficial for humanity and the entire universe.
Hindus consider it extremely auspicious to worship Lord Shiva on a Shivaratri as it is believed that worship of Lord Shiva with devotion and sincerity absolves a devotee of past sins. The devotee reaches the abode of Lord Shankar and lives there happily. He is also liberated from the cycle of birth and death and attains moksha or salvation.
Mahashivratri Festival is also considered to be an extremely significant festival by women. Married and unmarried women observe fast and perform Shiva Puja with sincerity to appease Goddess Parvati who is also regarded as ‘Gauri’ – one who bestows marital bliss and long and prosperous married life. Unmarried women also pray for a husband like Lord Shiva who is regarded as the ideal husband.