Maha Shivaratri Festival3
2014 Mahashivaratri Festival is celebrated on 27th February, Thursday. Maha Shivaratri Festival is the most important day dedicated to Lord Shiva. Shivaratri, means the night of Shiva, annually falls on the 13th night/14th day of Hindu Maagha month (Phalguna month or Kumbha Masam in other Hinduism calendars followed in India). On Mahashivaratri, Lord Shiva is worshiped as Lingodbhava Murti in temples and Lingodbhava puja is performed on the night. Lingodbhavamurti is the form of Shiva which has neither a beginning nor an end.
There are many stories associated with Mahashivaratri Festival. One of the prominent among them is the mythological story where Lord Shiva appeared in front of Mahavishnu and Lord Brahma in the form of Lingodbhava. Hence this day is regarded as the birthday of Shiva. Shivarati also marks the day Mahadev performed Shiva Tandava, the divine cosmic dance. It is also the day Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati.
Devotees of Lord Shiva took vrat on Shivaratri day. The fasting begins on the early morning and ends on the next day morning. Shiva Panchakshari Mantra is the main mantra to be chanted on this day. Most devotees make it a point to spend the entire day/night in the temple by chanting Om Namah Shivaya.