In addition to the stories, there is also deep spiritual significance behind Maha Shivaratri. It is said that this is when Shiva Tattva comes down and touches the Earth:
According to the Shiva Purana (ancient texts praising the divine
through divine stories), when Parvati asked Shiva, what pleases him
the most, He is supposed to have replied, 'The 14th night of the new
moon of the month of Phalgun is my favorite day. It is known as
Celebrating the Peace Within is Shivaratri
Mahashivaratri is the day when the Shiva Tattva touches the earth. The consciousness, the aura or the ethereal world which is always ten
inches above the material ground, touches the earth element on the day
of Mahashivaratri. It is the wedding of the material with the
Shiva is the soul (of everything) – there is no difference between the soul and Shiva. Your true nature is Shiva, and Shiva is peace,
infinity, beauty and the non-dual one.
Ratri means 'to take refuge'. Shivaratri is taking refuge in Shiva. Ratri (which translates as night) is that which gives you rest, or
Three types of peace are needed:
1. Material peace.
2. Mental peace and
3. Peace in the soul
If there is disturbance around you, you cannot sit and stay peaceful.
You need peace in your environment. You also need peace in the body
and mind, and you need peace in the soul. You may have peace in the
atmosphere, you may enjoy good health, and you may have peace in the
mind to a certain extent, but if the soul is restless, nothing can
bring you comfort. So that peace is also essential.
Only in the presence of all the three types of peace can there be
complete peace. Without one, the other is incomplete. Shivaratri is
taking refuge in the divine consciousness which brings peace and
solace to all layers of consciousness. So resting in the Shiva Tattva
When the mind, intellect and ego rests in the divine that is the real
rest, and the deepest rest. This is why it is very useful for people
to meditate on this day.
A Day for Meditation
Shivaratri is like a new year for a saadhak (seeker). It is considered as an auspicious day for spiritual growth and material
The night on this day, when the constellations are in some particular
position, is very auspicious for meditation. And so it is very useful
for people to keep awake and meditate on Shivaratri.
In ancient times, people used to say, 'Okay, if you cannot do every
day, at least one day in a year, on Shivratri day. Do meditation and
Wake the Divinity that is deep within you - this is the message. The Divinity is within you, let it wake up!
A Day For Fasting
Not eating too much, eating light and doing more meditation on this
day helps in fulfillment of desires - this is the ancient belief.
Like a sponge in water (a rasagulla in syrup), when mind and body is resting in the Shiva Tattva, small wishes get fulfilled effortlessly.
That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen on any other day. At any time when
your heart is open and your mind is calm, prayers do get answered.
People usually eat very light, some fruits or something and fast. I
don’t recommend you fast without anything. Take some fruits or some
light easily digestible food and spend the day awake and meditate at
night. You don’t need to do meditation all night, just for some time.
A Day For Chanting Sacred Hymns
Shivratri day is celebrated with Rudrabhishekam (singing of the ancient Vedic mantras which is accompanied with a ceremony of washing
the Shiva Linga with milk, curd, honey, rose water, etc).
Do you know,
when we chant the Vedic mantras, these mantras bring a big change in
the environment. It brings purity in the environment. sattva is
increased, bad karmas are destroyed and nature celebrates. That is why
this Rudrabhishekam has been performed for many thousands of years
for the well-being of all.
'Let there be timely rain, let there be a good harvest. Let there be health, wealth, wisdom, and liberation', with these prayers it is
To strengthen one’s connection to the Divine, Rudrabhishekam is performed.
Excerpts from an article by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: https://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/17184919/.../understandingshiva.pdf