The word ‘Maha Sivarathri’ means `the great night of Lord Siva.
Mahasivarathri is said to commemorate the day on which Lord Siva consumed the deadly poison (kalakutaviaham) to save the world from destruction. Goddess Parvathy is believed to have worshipped Lord Siva with great devotion. Lord Siva was pleased by her prayer and blessed her. She asked for the benefit of all the creatures, that in future whoever worships the Lord on the Siva Ratri day with devotion, they should also be blessed and should be given the ultimate liberation and it was granted.
In Kerala, it is celebrated in the Malayalam month of Kumbam (February-March). It is celebrated by the Hindus all over Kerala. The Mahasivarathri is considered a very important day for fast and Siva worship.
There is no other place in Kerala where Sivarathiri is celebrated on such a grand scale as in Aluva. The festival is held on the banks of Periyar at Alwaye. The sand bank is extensive and the pilgrims running into several thousand congregate here. People belonging to all classes, castes, and creeds assemble for this festival, The pilgrims keep awake the whole night and return home the next morning after performing Bali. There are shows, dances etc. meant for keeping the pilgrims awake throughout the night.