Maha Shivratri or Shivaratri is a Hindu festival dedicated to Lord Shiva,
who destroys the universe, one of the deities of the Hindu Trinity.
The festival is celebrated by offerings of Bael (Bilva) leaves to the Lord
Shiva, all day fasting and an all night long vigil. It is also called as
Great Night of Lord Shiva.
The pandits in the temples perform the puja(religious worship) according to
the scriptures. This is done four times during the night.
On Shivaratri, only cold water and bael leaves are offered to the Lingam.
Then bathing it in milk and Panchamruta (a mixture of milk, curds, ghee, sugar
and honey), or anointing it with vermilion (kumkum) or white consecrated rice
(Akshata), are performed on this day.
Maha Shivratri is celebrated widely in India. It is a public holiday in Mauritius,
Nepal, Sri Lanka.