Maha Shivaratri is one of the most important festivals associated with Lord Lingaraj and is celebrated with great enthusiasm. Lakhs of devotees visit the 11th Century abode of Lord Shiva. The temples of Ekamra Kshetra are spruced up creating a spectacular canvas. The festival is celebrated in the month of March and April and during the festival devotees, especially women, fast the entire day and perform pujas (offer prayers) throughout the night.
The highlight of the festival at Lingaraja Temple is the placing of the sacred earthen lamp on top of the temple, which usually happens late in the evening.
Shivaratri is a festival of convergence of Shiva and Shakti. According to Indian Mythology, in the midnight of Maha Shivaratri, Lord Shiva had appeared in form of Lingam. The Shiva Lingam was first worshipped by Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma. Hence Maha Shivaratri is known as birthday of Lord Shiva and has been observed with lot of reverence since time immemorial.