Mahashivratri is a one-day festival dedicated to Lord Shiva. Hindu devotees observe the fast on the day of Mahashivratri and pray to Lord Shiva. Devotees visit the Shiva Mandirs and some also make trips to the Holy places of Bara Jyotirlinga. Leaves of the tree named Bel and Wood apple (Kavath) have special importance in celebrating this day.There are different mythological stories behind this festival. One of the stories is as follows. When Gods and the demons were engaged in the Samudra Manthan i.e. Churning of the Ocean, many valuable things came out of the sea. With them, a poison named Halahal was also found. This poison was so dangerous that it could destroy the universe. Mighty Shiva stepped ahead an drank the poison to save everyone else. As Shiva started feeling the severe burning sensation in his throat and body, he was advised to be awake all night. All the other gods and devotees stayed awake with him. When Lord Shiva was recovered in the morning he blessed everyone. One more story of Mahashivratri is about a hunter who’s viewed were changed due to an incident happened on this day. He prayed to Lord Shiva and became sympathetic towards the world.The festival is celebrated on Magh Krishna Chaturdashi as per the Hindu calendar. As per the English calendar, it comes in the month of February or March.
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