Maha Shivaratri (IAST: Mahāśivarātri) is a Hindu festival celebrated annually in honour of the god Shiva. The name also refers to the night when Shiva performs the heavenly dance called Tandava.In every month of the luni-solar Hindu calendar, there is a Shivaratri – "night of Shiva" – on the day before new moon. But once a year, in late winter and before the arrival of Summer (February/March), this night is called "Maha Shivaratri" – "the Great Night of Shiva". This day falls in the month of Phalguna as per the North Indian Hindu calendar and in Magha as per the South Indian Hindu calendar (see Amanta and Purnimanta systems).It is a notable festival in Hinduism, and this festival is solemn and marks a remembrance of "overcoming darkness and ignorance" in life and the world. It is observed by remembering Shiva and chanting prayers, fasting, and meditating on ethics and virtues such as honesty, non-injury to others, charity, forgiveness, and the discovery of Shiva. Ardent devotees keep awake all night. Others visit one of the Shiva temples or go on pilgrimage to Jyotirlingams. The festival has been integral to Hinduism and its origin predates recorded history, but some western indologists believe this festival originated in 5th century BC. According to the South Indian calendar, Maha Shivaratri is observed on Chaturdashi Tithi during Krishna Paksha in the month of Magha, and in other parts of India, on 13/14 night of Krishna Paksha in Phalguna of the Hindu calendar, the Gregorian date however remaining the same.In Kashmir Shaivism, the festival is called Har-ratri or phonetically simpler Haerath or Herath by Shiva devotees of the Kashmir region. In recent years, the Isha Foundation has been a major patron of such festivities in India, with even Prime Minister Narendra Modi having attended the celebration hosted at the site of the Giant Adiyogi in Coimbatore.
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Next holiday is: Shivaji Jayanti (February 19)
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