Shivratri, or Mahashivratri, is the most auspicious day dedicated to Lord Shiva and is popularly known as the night of Siva. In 2016, the date of Shivratri is March 7. In Panchangs and Hindu calendars followed in Australia, United States, United Kingdom (Britain) and Canada, Shivaratri is marked on March 7. This holy night of Shiva is observed on the night before ‘amavasya’ in the Hindu month of Phalgun (February – March) as per traditional Hindu calendar followed in North India. The corresponding period in other regions is the night before Magh Amavasya.
Most Hindu festivals are noted for its mirth and color but Shivratri is a night dedicated to prayers and contemplation. Of course, when Lord Shiva is worshipped there is joy all around but it is not just joy but bliss that is achieved through Brahman realization – When Lord Shiva is seen in all animate and inanimate.
When we realize that it is his Tandava that creates each cell and it is his Tandava that is responsible for the transformation of each cell – we attain Moksha
Planetary Position on Shivaratri Night
It is believed that the planetary positions align in such a way on Shivratri night that it naturally creates an upsurge of energy in the human system. This is also why traditionally it is known to be beneficial both physically and spiritually to stay awake and aware through the night.
The significance of Shivratri is closely associated with ‘amavas’ - the no moon night or full dark night as per traditional Hindu Calendar. Amavas symbolically represents Kaliyuga or spiritual ignorance. Lord Shiva appeared just before the beginning of Kaliyuga to rid the world of evil and ignorance. Therefore Shivratri is celebrated to get rid of evil and ignorance.
It must be noted here that Shivratri is observed during Phalgun month in North India. The corresponding month in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh is Magh Month.
There is also a Masa Shivratri which is observed on thirteenth day of Krishna Paksha (waning phase of the moon) in all traditional Hindu months.