Maha Shivaratri is a Hindu festival that celebrates the worship of Lord Shiva. The festival is celebrated on the 14th night of the dark fortnight of the month of Phalguna or Maagh, which usually falls in February or March. It is a time when devotees of Lord Shiva fast, meditate and offer prayers to him.
There is a popular story associated with Maha Shivaratri that goes like this:
Once, there was a hunter who used to hunt animals in a dense forest. One day, while he was chasing a deer, he found himself near a Shiva lingam. He was very tired and hungry, so he decided to rest under a tree near the lingam. Unknowingly, he had placed his food and weapons near the lingam.
As he slept, he dreamt of a group of evil spirits who were chasing him. In the dream, he saw himself running towards the Shiva lingam and hugging it tightly. When he woke up, he saw that he was indeed hugging the lingam. He realized that he had unknowingly offered his prayers to Lord Shiva and had received his blessings.
The hunter was overcome with gratitude and decided to devote his life to Lord Shiva. He began to fast and meditate regularly, and soon he became a great devotee of the Lord.
This story is often told during Maha Shivaratri as a reminder of the power of devotion and the importance of seeking the blessings of Lord Shiva. On this day, people visit Shiva temples, offer flowers, fruits, and milk to the Shiva lingam, and observe a fast as a mark of respect and devotion to the Lord. The festival is a celebration of the triumph of good over evil and the power of spirituality to overcome darkness and ignorance.