Today, Hindus all over will celebrate Maha Shivratri, dedicated to Lord Shiva.
The day is also celebrated for the marriage of Lord Shiva with Parvati, according to Puranas and also marks the convergence of Shiva and Shakti.
Maha Shivratri, which falls on the Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi of Hindu calendar month Maagha as per Amavasya-ant month calculation. As per Poornima-ant month calculation, the day is Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi of Hindu calendar month Phalguna which falls in February or March as per the Gregorian calendar. Every month will have one Shivaratri throughout the year, but the Maha Shivarathri is the most holy.
Lord Shiva is worshipped on the day with Bael leaves and devotees keep fasting the whole day and remain awake throughout the night called (jagaran). The chants of “Om Namah Shivaya” ring in all over the temples and penances are performed in order to gain boons, steady life and God’s blessings.
It is learnt that on this day, the planetary positions in the Northern hemisphere act as potent catalysts to help a person raise his or her spiritual energy more easily with accruing benefits of powerful ancient Sanskrit mantras such as Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra on the night.
In Nepal, a predominant Hindu nation, millions of Hindus attend Shivaratri together from different part of the world at the famous Pashupatinath Temple and also attend Mahasivaratri at the famous Shiva Shakti Peetham of Nepal.
In Trinidad and Tobago, thousands of Hindus spend the auspicious night in over 400 temples across the country, offering special jhalls to Lord Shiva.
On Maha Shivratri, ideal time to perform Shiva puja is during the Nishita Kala, or the time when Lord Shiva appeared on the Earth in the form of Linga. The Lingodbhava puja is performed in all Shiva temples on this day.