On the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight of Magh (January-February) is celebrated Mahashivaratri. It is day of fasting and prayer dedicated to Lord Shiva. Shivratri or Mahashivratri is a most revered Hindu festival to mark the celebration of birth of Lord Shiva. Shivratri is celebrated across India and world wherever Indian Diaspora is in large number. One can find people observing Mahashivaratri in Mauritius, Trinidad & Tobago, South Africa and Nepal etc. Shivratri is also known as ‘Great Nights of Lord Shiva’. Hindus visit temples of Lord Shiva in the morning after taking bath, chant ‘Om Namah Shivay’, observe fast and offer ‘Vilva Patra’ and milk.
Shivaratri is dedicated to worship of Lord Shiva. Anyone worshipping him on this occasion is believed to be released from the cycle of birth and rebirth. This festival has special significance in Kashmir and lasts 15 days. The thirteenth day, known as hterath, is observed as a day of fast following by a family feast. This auspicious festival is observed and celebrated with serene religious fervor in the month of February/ March. Almost whole of India congregate at local Shiva temples and offer milk and water from pious rivers.