Maha Shivaratri in young generation at Pashupatinath Mandir
Maha Shivratri (the 'Great Night of Shiva') is a Hindu festival celebrated every year in reverence of Lord Shiva. It is also known as padmarajarathri. Alternate common spellings include Sivaratri, Shivaratri, Sivarathri, and Shivaratri. It is celebrated every year on the 13th night/14th day of the Maagha month of the Hindu calendar. Since many different calendars are followed by various ethno-linguistic groups of India, the month and the Tithi name are not uniform all over India and Nepal.
Celebrated in the dark fortnight or Krishna Paksha(waning moon) of the month of Maagha according to the Shalivahana or Gujarati Vikrama or Phalguna according to the Vikrama era. The festival is principally celebrated by offerings of Bael or Bilva/Vilvam leaves to Lord Shiva, all-day fasting and an all-night-long vigil(jagarana). All through the day the devotees, chant the sacred Panchakshara mantra dedicated to Lord "Om Namah Shivaya". In accordance with scriptural and discipleship traditions, penances are performed in order to gain boons in the practice of Yoga and meditation, in order to reach life's summum bonum steadily and swiftly. A week-long International Mandi Shivratri Fair held at Mandi in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh every year is one of the major tourist attractions in the state