Shivaratri, an Introduction
Shivaratri is an important festival, considered to be highly auspicious for the worship of Lord Shiva. It is Shiva ratri, that is, the Night of Shiva and is meant for praying to the Lord. Shivaratri is actually a monthly occurrence, which takes place on every 13th or 14th night of the dark fortnight of Krishna Paksha, which also happens to be the night before Amavasya, the New Moon day. The greatest of such monthly Shivaratri is known as Maha Shivaratri, a day considered to be extremely sacred for the worship of Lord Shiva. This falls in the Hindu month of Phalguna or the Tamil month of Masi (February–March).
Mythological importance of Maha Shivaratri
Many are the ancient legends that make a mention about Maha Shivaratri. Whereas, Linga Purana, Skanda Purana and Padma Purana speak in detail about the occasion, they give different accounts about its importance. While some regard this as the night when the Lord performed Shiva Thandava, his cosmic dance, a few others hold this as the occasion when the divine couple Shiva and Parvati got married.