Chaturdashi Tithi which falls during Krishna Paksha in the month of Magha is termed as Maha Shivaratri.
According to astrology, the planetary positions on this day are aligned favourably, evoking spiritual energies. Particularly, the northern hemisphere of our planet is positioned such that every person’s inner spiritual energy surges. To use this opportunity well, a night-long vigil is held honouring Lord Shiva (jaagran). It is a night full of prayers, chanting and reverence.
There are various theories to the origins of this Hindu festival. It symbolises the night when Lord Shiva performed the famous ‘Tandava Nritya’.
Mahashivratri is also supposedly marks when Lord Shiva got married to Goddess Parvati.
There are many mythological legends associated with this day.
According to a popular legend, when a hunter could not find anything to kill for his food in a forest, he waited on the branch of a Woodapple tree. In order to attract deer, he started throwing the leaves of the tree on the ground, unaware that there was a Shiva Lingam beneath the tree. Pleased with the Woodapple leaves and the patience of the hunter, it is believed that Lord Shiva appeared in front of the hunter and blessed him with wisdom.
It is believed that the people who fast on this night and offer prayers to Lord Shiva bring good luck into their life.
Kara CharaNa Kritam vāk KāyajaM Karma-jaM vā
ShravaNa Nayana-jaM vā MānasaM Vāparādham
Vihitam-avihitaM vā sarvamē tat-kshamasvā
Jaya Jaya KaruNābdhē Shri Mahādēva Shambhō
Oh Lord Shiva, glory to you the greatest of all Gods and who is the ocean of kindness. Please kindly forgive all the mistakes or sins done by my hands or feet, or voice (speaking), those born of my eyes, ears, and mind and those performed by my actions/duties, knowingly or unknowingly.