Maha Shivaratri is a Hindu festival celebrated annually in honor of Lord Shiva. This festival marks a remembrance of “overcoming darkness and ignorance” in life and the world. The story behind observance of Maha Shivaratri actually is a remembrance of compassion, love and grace of the Lord.
Devi Mahatmaya speaks of different kinds of nights – kala rata, maha rata, mohoda , krishta daruna. The first night, which is one way very auspicious and the other way more powerful is the kala ratri. In the enture span of time kala ratri denotes the kalpa paraya and this kalpa paraya is workshipped and observed as shivaratri in our tradition. Although there are hundreds of arudsha, utsavam, festivals in our hindu tradition, Shivarathi is the most unique festival. The utsavams are divided into different categories – there are braman utsava, shatre utsava, vaisha utsava and shudra utsava. Shivaratri is considered as braman utsava , means a utsava where only devotion to bhagavan is important, not much other festivities are observed in Shivaratri. It is a very auspicious and austerred utsava where mainly the sadaga goes to different kinds of pasanas. There are five stories in different puranas, which explain why shivarathri is observed. One story which is very famous is the devatas and asuras they churned the samudra and first the kakola , the mahalavish came from the mouth of vasuki and nobody was able to actually receive it and protect the world so Lord Parameshwara took it and he drank, and bhagavathi got hold of his neck and mahavishnu covered his mouth and it became stuck into the neck of the lord and he became nilakanda. It is believed that, that day where bhagawan showed his mercy and grace on this word because he has taken poison, the whole night he has not slept so Sree Paravati also and all the devathas sat with bhagavan, chanting bhagavans names. So this story actually expresses the compassion, grace and the love of the Lord, so we also enter with bhagawan and the entire night we praise the lord, and the grace of the Lord flows to us.