- Shiva (Lord Shiva) + ratri (night), so Shivaratri means the night of Lord Shiva.
Every lunar month on the 13th or 14th day of the dark half of the moon phase there is a Shivaratri but in the Vedic month of Phalgun (February-March) there is a Maha Shivaratri. The ceremony takes place mainly at night, which is observed in the honour of Lord Shiva, who was married to Parvati (Mother Durga) on this day.
Devotees of Lord Shiva generally observe a strict fast on this day and some go to the extent of a nirjal fast i.e. they do not even have a sip of water.