Mahashivratri will be celebrated by Hindus across the world on February 13 and February 14, 2018. The day falls in the month of Phalguna. As per the Hindu calendar, it signifies the defeat of darkness and ignorance. On this day, devotees of Lord Shiva chant prayers, conduct special pooja rituals and observe fast. A fast is observed for the full day and devotees offer prasad to the deity. A holy drink, panchamrit, is also made during pooja to offer to Lord Shiva. Some also meditate and do yoga on the day. The auspicious Mahashivratri is an ancient Hindu festival and its date of origin is not known. Mahashivratri can be translated to as the ‘Great Night of Shiva’. Mahashivratri 2018: Best Wishes, Quotes, SMS, WhatsApp Forwards, Facebook Status and GIF

According to scriptures, Lord Shiva is believed to have saved the world from a pot of poison that emerged from the ocean during Samudra Manthan. Devotees believe that fasting and praying on Mahashivratri helps them fulfil their wishes. They give a scared bath to the diety, offer fruits, flowers and bel leaves. Devotees chant shlokas and mantras all night before fasting on the day of Mahashivratri. They break their fasts with a prasad made especially for the festival. Mahashivratri Mela to Commence at Shiv Mandir Kathgarh in Himachal Pradesh on February 12

Devotees drink bhaang (cannabis) made on almonds and milk on this day. It is believed that Lord Shiva liked the drink and is hence offered for the diety with sweets. Legends also say that Maharashivratri marks the wedding day of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati.

Here are puja timings of Mahashivratri in different Indian cities:

Puja Muhurat in Ahmedabad, India
Nishita Kaal Puja Time = 24:28+ to 25:19+
Duration = 0 Hours 51 Minutes
Maha Shivaratri Parana Time (February 14) = 07:16 to 15:42
Chaturdashi Tithi Begins (February 13) = 22:34

Puja Muhurat in Mumbai, India

Nishita Kaal Puja Time = 24:27+ to 25:17+

Duration = 0 Hours 50 Minutes
Maha Shivaratri Parana Time (February 14) = 07:11 to 15:43
Chaturdashi Tithi Begins (February 13) = 22:34

Chaturdashi Tithi Ends (February 15) = 00:46

Puja Muhurat in Kolkata, India

Nishita Kaal Puja Time = 23:25 to 24:15+
Duration = 0 Hours 50 Minutes
Maha Shivaratri Parana Time (February 15)= After 06:12
Chaturdashi Tithi Begins (February 13)= 22:34
Chaturdashi Tithi Ends (February 15)= 00:46

Mahashivratri is celebrated with great fervour in northern states of India People wake up early in the morning, take bath and go to temples to offer prayers. Many Shiv temples have week-long celebrations with Shivratri fair being oragnised. Nepal witnesses widespread celebrations on Mahashivratri with the day being a National Holiday. Believers visit Pashupatinath temple where largescale festivities are held. Dance and music are also a part of the celebrations on this day. Indo-Caribbean communities which have thousands of Hindus also celebrate the festival. Mahashivratri 2018: Best Bhajans and Devotional Songs to Pray to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati on Shivratri