Maha Shivarathri literally means the great night belonging to Lord Shiva, his most favorite day. There are several interpretations for the origin of Maha Shivarathri.
Whatever may be the anecdote for the origin of Maha Shivarathri, it is the most favorite day of Lord Shiva.
HOW TO RECKON MAHA SHIVARATHRI?
As per Hindu Lunar Calendar, every 14th lunar day (Chaturdasi) of the dark fortnight (Krishna Paksha) is known as Maasa Shivarathri.
Sometimes it may fall on the 13th day (Trayodasi) itself.
It is decided based on the presence of Chaturdasi thithi extending beyond midnight on that particular day.
At the same time, every 13th or 14th day of the dark fortnight is not considered as Maha Shivarathri.
It is only the 13th /14th day of dark fortnight (Krishna Paksha) occurring in the lunar month of Maagha Maasam associated with Chaturdasi prevailing beyond midnight is reckoned as Maha Shivarathri.
If Chaturdasi is prevailing during Pradosha time as well as at midnight it is considered as more meritorious for Maha Shivaratri.
Maha Shivarathri dedicated to Lord Shiva is celebrated with great religious significance and fervor across the country by all Hindus irrespective of the caste and creed.
Lord Shiva is the most revered Hindu God and one of the three main deities of Hinduism. He has attained perfection in Yoga, Meditation and Spirituality.
As per Vedic scriptures, it is on the day of Maha Shivaratri that Lord Shiva revealed his form in Linga. This is one of the reasons why devotees perform Rudraabhishekam during midnight of Mahashivaraatri. It is also on this night that Lord Shiva performed the Tandava, the dance of primordial creation, preservation, and destruction.
Lord Shiva is also often portrayed as the supreme ascetic with a passive and composed disposition. Sometimes he is depicted riding a bull called Nandi decked in garlands. Although a very complicated deity, Shiva is one of the most fascinating of Hindu gods.