MahaShivratri is celebrated with religious fervor all over the country. MahaShivratri falls on the I3th (or I4th) day of the dark half of Phalgun (February-March). The literal meaning of Shivratri is "the night of Shiva Devotees believe that Lord Shiva was tied in knot with Parvati, on the auspicious day of Shivratri. Devotees pray to Lord Shiva and sing Shiva hymns for whole night. Special programs are organized on the occasion at Shiva temples all over the country. Mhashivratri is observed in great esteem not only in India but also in Nepal and Mauritius.
Shivratri brings with it the fragrance of festivity almost all over the country but special celebrities are observed at Aluva in Kerala. Shivratri holds the importance of most awaited festivals among Keralites. Large number of Shiva devotees gathers at the Aluva Shiva Temple for their special prayers on the occasion of Shivratri.
Aluva Shiva temple is located on the banks of Periyar River at Aluva in Ernakulam district of Kerala. The temple is also popular with the name Aluva Manapuram and the ceremony on Shivratri is referred as Shivratri Manappuram. The festival is very popular among Keralites. Devotees believe that this is the perfect occasion for the remembrance of the Lord Shiva and paying honor to the Almighty!
Grand Shivratri fair is organized at the Aluva temple in the Malayalam month of Kumbam during the Mahasivarathri. The celebrations of Shivratri Manappuram go for a week’s time. The festive week marks religious nature of Keralites as whole week is dedicated to Lord Shiva’s puja and abhishekams. Devotees from far long places gather at Aluva to pay their honor to Lord Shiva on the occasion. Special cultural programs are also conducted for the occasion.
Devotees believe that taking holy dip in Periyar River and performing religious rites help their ancestors to attain salvation. Religious rituals at the Aluva Temple begin with the Shivarathri vilakku (Lamp) procession. State Government of Kerala also pays active attention for the smooth run of the grand fair. Indeed, this is one of the popular and spectacular festivals of Kerala.