Shivaratri, or Mahashivratri, is the night of Shiva and one of the most auspicious days dedicated to Lord Shiva. The day and night is for devotion and prayer to Siva. Maha Shivratri is the day when prayers and worship are given more importance. There is no fun or merrymaking as in other Hindu festivals. Here is a simple method to perform Shivratri Puja. Always remember that the origin of Shivratri is traced to a hunter who was an ardent Shiva Bhakta and in a critical situation he unknowingly washed a Shivalingam with his tears and unknowingly offered Bilva leaves. So what is important is devotion and not complicated rituals. Prayers for Shivratri You can chant any one or more of the prayers dedicated to Lord Shiva or simply chant ‘Om Namah Shivaya.’ (You can find details about Shivratri Prayers and Mantras here) Fasting on Shivratri Most people fast for the entire day. But if you are unable to keep fast for 24-hours, then you can always opt for a single vegetarian diet or fruit or juice diet. If you are under medications, don’t attempt to fast and take proper advice from your doctor, if you intent on fasting. Time of Prayer during Shivratri The entire day is dedicated to Lord Shiva. So you can start the prayers from the morning by visiting a Shiva temple. Most Shiva devotees start the prayers in the evening after 20:00 hrs and continue till 04:00 hrs in the morning. The reason is that Lord Shiva is believed to have appeared during this period in a form that the human eye can accommodate.