Mahashivaratri festival is celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva, the third God of the Hindu Trinity. It is celebrated every year on the 14th night of the new moon during the dark half of the month of Phalguna. Celebrations are held in Shiva temples all over the country. People fast throughout the day and ritual prayers are conducted in temples at night.
It is believed that when Parvati asked Lord Shiva as to which vrata was the best in terms of securing maximum punya and his bhakti, Lord Shiva himself revealed about this auspicious day. On Mahashivaratri day the shivling is bathed with the five sacred offerings of a cow, called the panchagavya - milk, sour milk, urine, butter and dung. Thereafter the five food items symbolising immortality - milk, clarified butter, curd, honey and sugar - are placed before the linga.