Maha Shivaratri is a Hindu celebration praised yearly in worship of the God Shiva. While most festivals of Hindus are celebrated during the day, Maha Shivaratri is celebrated during the night by keeping a night long vigil (a jaagaran ) with worship. Maha Shivratri, which truly means "incredible night of Shiva”, is a Hindu festival to a great extent celebrated in India and also in Nepal. The day is celebrated to revere Lord Shiva, an important deity in Hindu culture.
On the occasion of Maha-Shivratri, celebrations occur in all the Shiva temples crosswise over India. Devotees celebrate it by keeping fast during the day and offering prayers to God for the duration of the night. This night has its own significance because worshipping Lord Shiva at this night is believed to offer salvation to life. In addition, this promising occasion means a lot to women, as the wedded ones pray to God for the prosperity of their husband and sons, the unmarried for a husband like Shiva who is viewed as the perfect husband.
It is believed that Lord Shiva wedded Goddess Parvathi on Maha Shivaratri day. Another conviction is that Lord Shiva performed Thandava Nrithya on the Maha Shivaratri night. The fans of Lord Shiva all through the nation observe fast and after the customary bath to Shiva linga, they offer fruits, flowers and bel leaves to Lord Shiva and be awake in the night without sleep. They trust that the ritual worship of Lord Shiva on propitious day of Shivaratri free them of past sins and will be honored with Moksha. Wearing new garments they go to Shiva temples and perform poojas and chant prayers in praise of Lord Shiva, saying 'Om NamahShivaya' and circumambulate the temple three or seven times. Like different religious festivals, Maha-Shivaratri likewise has its own source in the Indian mythology and is celebrated by the Hindus for their faith in Lord Shiva as well as for its own particular scientific and spiritual significance. As per crystal gazing(astrology), on this very day the Moon is closer to the Sun, making an perfect moment for the communion between two sustaining forces,, one being the source of life with beauty, warmth and enthusiasm and the other being Shiva himself radiating light ,quality and vitality. Going on an otherworldly note, Maha-Shivaratri is a promising announcement of the divine descent of Lord Shiva. So the true love of Lord Shiva is said to yield merits and spiritual growth for the devotees.Scriptures are full of various fascinating legends and stories connected with the festival of Maha-Shivaratri. There goes a story in the glory of Maha-Shivaratri. Some time ago there lived a hunter named Gurudruh in specific woods of Baranasi. He was muscular and cruel and eked out his livelihood by hunting only. One day his entire family, out of hunger, asked for him to bring some food. Looking for his quarry he wandered here and there in the woods however discovered none till the sunset.
So he chose to proceed with his chase even into the darkness of the night. Near a pond in the forest he climbed up a tree called Bilva and sat on one of its branches waiting for his quarry. Finally he risked to have a thirsty deer over there. He attempted to slaughter him however he didn’t succeed. Thus he made four attempts at different periods of the night and failed each time But one thing that happened to make all the difference over there was that each time when he tried to kill the deer a portion of the water he had in a pot tucked to his waist and a few leaves of the tree fell on to a Shivligum lying under the same tree.
In this way, however accidentally, he made his offering to Lord Siva four times at that night. It being the night of Maha-Shivaratri, Lord Shiva was satisfied with this demonstration of the seeker and showed up there to favor him. This perfect occurrence changed his life inside and out and drove him to salvation. Being motivated by this story, the convention of watching Maha-Shivaratri came in vogue.