Importance and significance of Maha Shivaratri, lies in the story behind the marriage of Shiva and Parvati and the story of Samudra Manthan.
It’s Maha Shivaratri! An auspicious day, when Lord Shiva and Parvati got married. It is accorded with a lot of significance in Hindu mythology making it the most important festival for Hindus. Maha Shivaratri literally means the “The Great Night of Shiva” which is observed in the dark fortnight or Krishna Paksha on the 13th day or the 14th night of Phalguna or Maagha month (that is February or March as per the English calendar). On this day people fast and give sacrifices to Shivalingam as part of their prayers to the god. Lord Shiva is considered as formless, infinite, supreme and unchanging absolute.
In the ancient mythological stories, the best-known episodes are “Samudra Manthan” which explains the origin of “amrita” or “nectar”. It is the time when the gods and the demons churned the ocean of Milk to obtain nectar for becoming immortal. The process released a lot of things from the ocean of Milk. One of them was a pot of poison called halahala, which terrified the Gods and daemons because the poison was so powerful that it could destroy the world. Then Lord Shiva came to the rescue, and he consumed the poison. And Goddess Parvati, Shiva’s wife grabbed Lord Shiva’s throat so that he do not swallow it. It is believed that he carefully held the poison in his throat, which turned blue due to its effect. Maha Shivratri is celebrated in order to honor the Lord saved the universe from the deadly poison, people observe rigorous fasting to show their gratitude to the almighty. It is also said that when people pray to the Lord with devotion, they can attain Moksha or Salvation and get free from their sins. Worshippers begin the day by a dip in the holy river Ganga. People chant slokas and meditate the lord for redemption, off-springs, and good health.Young Unmarried Women pray lord shiva and Parvati together to get an Ideal Husband.
Maha Shivaratri is thus not only a ritual but it’s a day to show your love and gratitude towards God, who saves the universe. Observing fast on the day dissipates our ignorance, emanates the light of knowledge, and acknowledges the self-realization.