On the occasion of Maha Shivratri devotees prepare themselves to worship Lord Shiva and offer them prayers and chant'Om Namah Shivaya' all night long. Maha Shivratri means 'the big night of Shiv' or 'the great night of Lord Shiva'.
Why does Maha Shivratri mean?
According to Hindu calender and mythology, the Chaturdashi tithi during Krishna Paksha in the month of Magha is known as Maha Shivaratri.
Why is Maha Shivratri celebrated?
According to Hindu mythology, it is believed that the great legend of the ocean known as Samudra Manthan which was conducted by Lord's and demons to obtain nectar so that they can be immortal resulted to the emergence of poison.
Also Read: Maha Shivratri 2017: Know Lord Shiv puja vidhi, mantra and importance
The poison which emerged was so dangerous as it could burn the whole world that nobody was even ready to touch it.
It was only Lord Shiva who agreed to consume the poison as he could get rid of it.
It is believed that Lord Shiva's stomach represents the universe and if the poison would have effected him the entire universe would have been destroyed. So Lord Shiva held his throat so that the poison could not get into his stomach which resulted in him turning blue in color and started knowing as 'Neelkanth'.