When is Maha Shivratri?
Maha Shivratri is a famous Hindu festival celebrated each year in reverence of Lord Shiva.
It is celebrated across India and is a holiday in the following states in 2018:
13th February 2018 - Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana and Uttarakhand
14th February 2018 - Bihar, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh.
Shivaratri means the "great night of Shiva". Shivaratri is the night when Shiva is said to have performed the Tandava Nritya, or the dance of primordial creation, preservation and destruction.
Shivratri is also when Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva married again.
Shivratri celebrated on 13th day of Falgun month - the last month of Hindu calendar
The festival is principally celebrated by offerings of Bael leaves to Lord Shiva, all-day fasting and an all-night-long vigil.
Shiva is worshiped in the form of a lingam - a pillar often placed on a receptacle that represents female creative energy. Together it represents the union of organs, and the totality of creation.
Flowers, incense and other offerings are made, while all through the day the devotees, chant the sacred Panchakshara mantra dedicated to Lord "Om Namah Shivaya".