Not all know that every month in the Hindu calendar has listed the 13th day of the darker half of the month as Shivratri i.e. the 'Grand Night dedicated for the devotion of Lord Shiva').Shivratri cataract in the Krishna paksha, in the month of Magha and according to Roman calendar it comes in the month of February.The meaning of MAHASHIVRATI is “MAHA” means Grand/ great, “SHIV” refers to Lord Shiva and “RATRI” means Night.The festival of Mahashivratri is looked upon with greatest astonishment & reverence by the devotee of Lord Shiva. There are several legends which are related with this special grand night of Lord Shiva:
Marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati:
One of them states that Mahashivratri is the combination of Lord Shiva with his wife Goddess Parvati. In Goddess Parvati previous birth, Goddess Parvati was known as Sati. King Daksha opposed Sati's marriage with God Shiva. King Daksha had organized a Yagna, a religious gathering where offerings are made to Agni Dev (the God of Fire). King had purposely not invited his daughter and her husband. When Sati came to know of this, Parvati was furious and assured to go undesirable. God Shiva tried to argue parvati to drop this idea but parvati was relentless.
King Daksha gave reason to Sati which was nothing but public degradation of her husband. Sati was so angered by this so Sati jumped into the Yagna and immolates her life. Lord Shiva became extremely angry when Lord Shiva heard the news of Sati’s immolation. Carrying Sati’s body, God Shiva begins to perform “Rudra Tandava” or the dance of desolation and wipe out the kingdom of Daksha. Everybody was horrified as Lord Shiva’s Tandava because Shiva had the power to destroy the whole earth. In order to peaceful Lord Shiva, Vishnu severed Sati's body into twelve pieces and threw them on earth in so many directions. Our history is said that wherever the pieces of Shakti’s body fell, there emerges a “Shakti Pitha”.
Lord Siva was now only undertook accurate penance and retire to the Himalayas. Sati takes a re-birth as “Parvati” in the family of God Himalaya. Parvati performed penance to break Shiva’s meditation and succeed his concentration. It is said that Parvati, who found it hard to break Shiva’s meditation with the help of Kamadeva who was the God of Love and Passion. God Kamadeva asked Parvati to dance in front of Lord Shiva with him. When Parvati danced, Lord Kamadeva try his arrow of passion at Shiva breaking his penance. Shiva became very angry and opening his third eye that reduced Kamadeva to ash. It was only after Kamadeva’s wife Rati’s pleading that Lord Shiva agreed to revitalize Kamadeva.
Later, Parvati undertake cruel penance to win over Shiva. Through her devotion and advice by sages Devas, Parvati, also known as Uma, was finally able to attract God Shiva into marriage and away from asceticism. Their marriage was solemnize a day before Amavasya in the month of Phalgun. This day of union of God Shiva and Parvati is celebrated as Mahashivratri every year.