Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday extended wishes on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri.
“Best wishes to all of you on the auspicious occasion of Maha Shivaratri. May the God of gods, Mahadev blesses everyone. Om Namah Shivay,” he tweeted in Hindi.
It's believed that while there is a Shivaratri every lunisolar month of the Hindu calendar, the Maha Shivaratri happens only once every year, in February/March, when winter comes to an end and spring and summer begin.
Out of the 12 Shivaratris observed in any given year, Maha Shivaratri is considered especially auspicious, as it is supposed to be the night of convergence of Shiva and Shakti, which in essence means the male and feminine energies, that keeps the world in balance. Shiva and Shakti are revered as the embodiment of love, energy, and unity.
Maha Shivaratri is observed in several states of India like Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and Bihar.
On this auspicious day, followers and devotees of Lord Shiva observe fast and special puja is performed in several temples across the world. They offer milk to the Shivalinga and pray for Moksha.
Several devotees pray the whole night, chant mantras in praise of Lord Shiva. Besides the celebrations of the marriage of Shiva and Shakti, unmarried women pray and observe fasts on the day to wish for a partner as compassionate as Lord Shiva. On this day, fairs and cultural programmes are also organised in various temples.