Mahashivratri is one of the largest and most important among the sacred festival nights of India. This – the darkest night of the year – celebrates the Grace of Shiva, who is considered the Adi Guru or the First Guru, from whom the yogic tradition originates. The planetary positions on this night are such that there is a powerful natural upsurge of energy in the human system. It is enormously beneficial for one’s physical and spiritual well-being to stay awake and aware in a vertical position throughout the night.
How the celebrations of Maha Shivratri takes place?
The celebration includes maintaining a "Jagran", an all-night vigil and prayers, because of Shaiva Hindus mark this night as "overcoming darkness and ignorance" in one's life and the world through Shiva. Offerings of fruits, leaves, sweets, and milk to Shiva are made, some perform all-day fasting with Vedic or tantric worship of Shiva, and some perform meditative Yoga. In Shiva temples, "Om Namah Shivaya", the sacred mantra of Shiva, is chanted through the day.
The grand festival is celebrated to mark the overcoming darkness and ignorance. People do fast, wear new clothes and worship Lord Shiva. The main temples of God are visited in Varanasi and Somnath. The Mandi fair is organized in the town of Mandi, Himachal Pradesh. It is also celebrated as the anniversary of God Shiva and Goddess Parvati in the Kashmiri and Himalayan regions. The Mahakaleshwar Temple, Ujjain is flocked by numerous devotees.