A religious festival celebrated by Hindus across Sri Lanka, Maha Sivaratri Festival is observed in the month of February on the 14th night of the new moon. With its name translating to “Great Night of Lord Shiva”, the annual festival is held to venerate Lord Shiva – the Hindu god of destruction – and also marks the date Shiva marred Goddess Parvati and performed Tandava Nritya – the cosmic dance. Many Hindus choose to fast on this day and visit the temple to perform ritual poojas to worship Lord Shiva. Devotees wake early in the morning and bathe at sunrise, followed by the offering of prayers to the sun and Lord Shiva. Acts of charity and donating are also commonly practiced – done with the intention of pleasing Lord Shiva. The festival is a public holiday and is one of the most important religious events amongst Hindus in Sri Lanka.