Shivaratri is observed by Hindus on the 14th day of every lunar month or the day before the new moon. Hence Shivaratri is celebrated throughout the year but the Maha Shivaratri, which falls in the month of Maagha and phaalguna. This year, Maha Shivaratri will be celebrated on February 21 across India. Shiva, the god of destruction, is worshipped on this day.
People keep fasts, stay up all night to chant devotional songs. Shiva is believed to be happy with devotees if they offer him woodapple leaves.Temples of Lord Shiva are decorated on this day and is visited by many disciples. In Ujjain, one of the 12 jyotirlingas, people bring out processions on the road and hail the greatness of Shiva.
Shiva is part of holy trinity in Hindu mythology, along with Brahma and Vishnu, and is also called Maha Ishwar (Great God). On Maha Shivaratri, it is believed that Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati got married. The wedding is celebrated on the midnight of Shivaratri.
According to popular belief, anyone who utters the name of Shiva during this period with purity gets liberated from the cycle of birth and death, and achieves moksha (enlightenment).