Why is Shivratri celebrated? Maha shivratri is celebrated during the month of February or March and this festival is devoted to Lord Shiva, as the name Maha shivrati itself means “the big night of Lord Shiva”. It is believed that Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati on this day.
The devotees of Lord Shiva observe fast and spend their maximum time remembering Shiva. Early in the morning after taking bath people start performing Shivratri rituals and after doing prayers at home a visit to temple is also made.
People visit temples and make offerings of honey, milk, water, bael leaves and fruits to Shiva lingam. While making offerings, Shiva chalisa and other prayers are also recited, as these prayers help to keep away the problems of Lord Shiva devotees. People generally keep reciting “Om Namah Sivaya”.
Women eagerly wait for this festival of Shivratri, as both married and unmarried women perform the fast of Shivratri with great believe and carry out all the Shivratri rituals and customs.
It is believed that Goddess Parvati, known as ‘Gaura' is the provider of a happy and successful married life and all those women who are unmarried perform this fast to get married to a good husband.
A very famous tradition associated with the shivratri celebrations is drinking of the thandai, a drink made of bhang (cannabis), sweet almonds and milk. Drinking this drink is a tradition because Lord Shiva really loved cannabis.
The celebrations of Shivratri can also be enjoyed at various other places, as this festival is celebrated in all the regions. In west Bengal girls observe Shivratri fast on this festival and worship Lord Shiva.
Sri Kalahasteshwara Temple at Kalahasti and the Bhramaramba Malikarjunaswamy Temple at Srisailam, in Andhra Pradesh are crowded with devotees during this festival. Umananda Temple at Peacock Island and the Sukreswar Temple on the banks of the river Brahmaputra, in Assam turn out to be a focus during Shivratri celebrations.