Maha Shivaratri, is most popularly known as Shivaratri. It is a Hindu festival and ritual, which is celebrated as the night of Lord Shiva, which is about overcoming darkness and ignorance in life and the world. This day is celebrated once a year, which falls on the new moon day in the 11th of February or March as per the Hindu calendar. It is celebrated at night.
There are many legends as to how this day was created and celebrated. Some of which are:
- It was on this day that Shiva is said to have saved the world from destruction on condition that people worshipped him with great enthusiasm.
- Another legend says that Shiva simply named this as his favorite day when asked by the goddess Parvati.
It is a major Hindu festival in which people remember Lord Shiva. It is a public holiday in Nepal. People from all over the world come to visit the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal; which is the main temple where people celebrate the auspicious occasion of Shivaratri. They also visit the Shiva Shakti Peetham which is nearby. Jogi babas (aka Holy man or Shadu) are the main devotees seen on this day. They are the ones who follow all the aspects of Lord Shiva. They roam around temples naked and are also seen meditating.
All the Hindu devotees chant, do yoga, fast for good luck and embrace the memory of Lord Shiva on this day. The married women pray for the well being of their husbands whereas the unmarried women pray to get an ideal husband like Shiva. The Nepalese armies also hold parades across the city to honor the day of Lord Shiva.