Lord Shiva is regarded as the supreme source of being and at the same time the ultimate destroyer who had always been existing even when the universe was not created. As per Indian mythology Lord Shiva is boundless, endless and there is no such power that can limit his existence ever. That is why is called Adiananata Shiva. Maha Shivratri is the most commanding night of worshipping Lord Shiva who performs a great dance which is known as Tandava or complete annihilation. Shiva is the source of every positivity and he destroys every negativity, he is the creator and the devastator, he is beyond explanation and he is beyond our sense of understanding.
Maha Shivaratri or the great night of Shiva is observed on Chaturdashi tithi during Krishna paksha in the month of Magha. It is distinguished and one of the most respected festivals in Hinduism and the purpose of observing this festival is to be blessed by the creator so that we may triumph over all darkness and ignorance.
According to the legend of Shiva and spiritual beliefs, the night when Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati got married is celebrated as Mahashivratri or the night of Shiva.
Lord Shiva is the symbol of truth, honesty, creativity, forgiveness, determination, sacrifices, love and complete dedication and by worshipping him we enter the endless path of truthfulness, honesty, devotion and dedication.
The devotees follow rituals like remembering Lord Shiva, chanting prayers, fasting and meditating. Devotees stay awake throughout this night. Some prefer to visit one of the Shiva temples or go on a pilgrimage to the holy Jyotirlingas.
The most important part is that Mahashivratri is celebrated at night. There are not so many rituals to perform, only fasting is important and during the period of fasting devotees are supposed to enchant Shiva stotram like Mahamrityunjay Mantra or Shiva Panchakshara Stotram which please the Lord
Lord Shiva is known as Adi Yogi or the oldest monk who loves to meditate over the centuries. It is believed that meditation brings dedication and dedication brings devotion so it is important to meditate during the night of Mahashivratri and all-night vigil at Shiva temples is also required. The celebration includes jagran, visiting temples and prayers, because Hindus mark this night as overcoming darkness and ignorance with the help of Shiva.
Shiva loves to take bath in milk and holy water and offerings of fruits, bilbwa Patra, sweets and milk are made to Shiva, "Om Namah Shivaya", the most sacred Panchakshari mantra of Shiva is chanted throughout the day and night. Devotees also reads the Shiv Chalisa with great respect This year the sacred hours of Mahashivratri will start from 6.07 pm on 18th February and it will last till 3.40 pm on the next day.