Maha Shivratri is celebrated with great enthusiasm by the devotees. They wake up early in the morning and have a bath, preferably in the holy Ganges. Huge lines can be noticed in front of the Shiva temples, as the devotees want to perform their rituals and get blessed by Lord Shiva. They use water and milk to properly clean the Linga and then they offer bael leaves. Applying holy ash on the forehead is a ritual at this festival.
The devotees keep a fast on this day and eat fruits and Prasad given by the pujaris. Sadhus visit different Shiva temples on this day and give marijuana to the disciples in the form of the Prasad. Some follow a strict fast by not consuming even a drop of water. The Shivalingam is worshipped throughout the day and night. After every Pahar (period of three hours) the priests perform pooja by bathing the Linga with milk, honey, water, yogurt, and ghee while chanting the Shiva mantra.
A night-long Jagran is observed on Maha Shivratri
. They sing hymns and praises in the name of Lord Shiva.
Having thandai is an important part of this festival. It is also considered that the celebration of Maha Shivratri is incomplete without the consumption of Thandai. This drink is made by mixing bhang and almonds in milk. It is a belief that bhang is greatly savored by Lord Shiva.
This is the night when a spiritual aspirant performs Sanatan Kriya and mantra sadhana
. On this day, the guru gives a specific mantra to his student that he has to practice on a specific muhurat at night. This brings the people in a different kind of trance and gives them an amazing psychic experience that cannot be experienced on any different night.