About Maha Shivaratri
Maha Shivaratri is one of the most widely celebrated Hindu festivals in India and Nepal. This momentous festival is observed every year in honor of the great Hindu God ‘Shiva’, who forms the holy trinity of Hinduism along with Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma. The term ‘Maha Shivaratri’ means ‘Great night of Shiva’, and is observed on the new moon day in the Hindu month of ‘Phagun, which corresponds to February–March according to the English calendar. Maha Shivaratri is the most important and auspicious of the 12 Shivaratris that are celebrated every year. It is believed that it was on this day that Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati got married, which is one of the many reasons for the celebration of this festival.
Legend of Maha Shivaratri
The Puranas state that when the Devas and Asuras were churning the great cosmic ocean (Samudra Manthan), a pot of poison emerged from the depths of the waters. This potent poison was so powerful, that the Gods and demons were terrified that it would destroy the entire world. In desperation, they sought an audience with Lord Shiva and conveyed their concern. The ever-magnanimous Lord Shiva assured them that he would address their concerns and proceeded to drink the contents of the deadly pot. However, he did not swallow the poison, but held it in this throat. This resulted in his throat turning blue and ever since, Shiva came to be known as ‘Neelkanth’, which means ‘the one with the blue throat’.