Shivaratri, or Maha Shivaratri (Night of Shiva) is a Hindu festival, celebrated all over the country with great enthusiasm.
Shivaratri Fast is considered to be the most important fast for the devotees of Lord Shiva. It is only in the following morning that a devotee breaks the fast by consuming the prasad offered to Lord Shankar.The festival usually falls every year on the 13th night/14th day in the Krishna Paksha of the month of Maagha (as per Shalivahana) or Phalguna (as per Vikrama) in the Hindu calendar.
The festival is exclusively dedicated to Lord Shiva who is known by hundreds of names.
Maha Shivratri is the day to rejoice…to pray to the almighty for wellness. Almost all Hindus throughout the world offer prayers in the morning/evening and some observe fasting (vrata) throughout the day. Most people visit the nearby temples of Shiva and offer prayers in large crowds.
The prayers and worship continue throughout the night and the devotees offer coconut, Bilva leaves, fruits and specially prepared sacred food to Shiva and his divine consort Parvati.
As this is a dark fortnight, devotees light candles and diyas (a lamp made usually of clay, with wick made of cotton and dipped in ghee) throughout the night – this is a symbol of spiritual manifestation.
Here is a recipe to break the fast.
Spicy Potato Curry
4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 Tbs vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
4 tsp curry powder
4 tsp garam masala
1 inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
2 tsp salt
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
15 oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen peas
14 oz can coconut milk
Place potatoes into a large pot and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until just tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and allow to steam dry for a minute or two.
Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, curry powder, garam masala, ginger, and salt; cook for 2 minutes more. Add the tomatoes, garbanzo beans, peas, and potatoes. Pour in the coconut milk, and bring to a simmer. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes before serving.