Hindus celebrate festivals according to lunar calendar. Living on the east coast, I am 10 and half hours behind Indian Standard Time. But Indian Festivals are celebrated a day ahead in the United States. So when all of India is celebrating Shivaratri on March 1st, Temples in America celebrate the same here a day before, that is today. This is really interesting and I usually end up with the option of celebrating the same festival on the day that is comfortable to me.
Shivaratri is fasting and being awake all through the night with festivities happening in Temples. Even as a kid, my grandparents or my parents were not that particular about going to temple. My grandfather and my father did elaborate Shiva Pooja at home, and the offering made is a simple porridge. By the way I never fasted nor was awake, but enjoyed sitting near them hearing the chants.
With YouTube and online streaming of happenings in all the Shiva Temples around the world, I rarely miss the enthusiasm associated with Shivaratri in Temples. The pooja is done in a simple way at home by us but dinner is always the simple milk porridge.
Last time when we visited India had the great opportunity to sing Sivanandalahari inside Nandi Hills, cave temple. The temple has a big bull, Nandi, Lord Shiva’s vehicle outside.
The cave was cramped, myself and my aunt sang a few verses. As we came out of the cave we noticed a long line of people waiting to enter. It is really surprising that no one asked us to stop singing and even my son was really quiet in that cramped up space. As I look at you tube video thanks to my cousin who recorded it, this was not something we had planned and executed but something that happened by chance or by the will of Lord Shiva!