Kal Bhairav Ashtami is dedicated to Lord Shiva and on this day he is worshipped as Kal Bhairav is the God of Time – Kal means ‘time’ and ‘Bhairav’ the manifestation of Shiva. Kal Bhairav Ashtami 2012 date is December 6. It is observed on the eighth day during the Krishna Paksha (waning phase of moon) in the month of Margasheersh in North Indian calendars. The corresponding period in other regional calendars is Kartik Krishna Paksha.
Legend has it that Lord Shiva cut the fifth head of Lord Brahma on this day and performed penance. In this form Shiva is believed to punish the sinners.
Kal Bhairav’s vehicle is a black dog and in some places dogs are fed on the day.
Lord Shiva devotees take morning bath and perform special pujas and homas.
Dead ancestors are also remembered on the day and pujas are performed for them.
Staunch Shiva devotees do not sleep on the day and read or listen to stories of Mahakaleshwar.