Fast Facts :
Month of Celebration : February or March
Religion : Hinduism
Implication : Marriage of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva
Commences on the 14th day of the murky night in the month of February to March) also called as Phalguna, is dedicated to the idolizing of God Shiva. This fiesta is merely spiritual in creation and is unanimously observed by the entire clan of Hindus. On the eve of this day, followers chant bhajans in respect of Lord Shiva, declaim Sanskrit verses (shlokas) from sacred scriptures, offer religious prayer in the dawn and dusk, and some keep fast for the entire day. Devotees visit close by Shiv Mandir or Temples and present their prayers in front of the deity of Lord Shiva. The worships and prayers prolongs for a long time. At night, the disciples offer fruits, Bilva leaves and coconut, and specifically prepared holy food to Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva. Offering the leaves of Bilva to Lord Shiva on the eve of Shiv Ratri is measured very propitious by his disciples.
The devotees carry a rosary during the worshipping. This rosary is made up of beads of rudraksha seed and is generally adorned with turmeric, sandalwood, and kumkum. The lingam is also offered leaves of bael, an Indian tree and is anointed with vermillion. As the worship goes on, the devotees recite the Panchaakshara" Om Namah Shivay". This is accompanied with chanting of hymns in the praise of the deity. It is believed the recital of these hymns absolves all the sins of a person.
A special drink called Bhang or thandai is prepared during Mahashivratri. The drink is made by mixing milk and cannabis. This intoxicating drink is supposed to be a favorite of Shiva.