About Skanda Shasti
Skanda Shasti is an important Hindu festival which marks the birthday of Lord Muruga, who is also known as Subramania, Kartikeya, Skanda and so on. This day falls on the sixth day of the ‘Shuklapaksha’ (waxing phase of the moon), in the Hindu month of ‘Kartika’, also known as ‘Aippasi’ in Tamil. This corresponds to the months of October-November according to the Gregorian calendar. Lord Murugan is popularly known as ‘Skanda’ and his birthday is celebrated in a grand manner in many temples, predominantly in the state of Tamilnadu and its adjoining regions. Devotees observe this six-day festival by fasting, in their bid to propitiate Lord Muruga and secure his blessings. There are no hard and fixed rules to observe this ritual and one is free to do so at their own convenience. However, they should adhere to the basic rules associated with all Hindu rituals of a similar nature.
Norms to be followed during Skanda Shasti fasting
- One should strictly avoid consuming non-vegetarian food during this period
- Many devotees also avoid garlic and onions
- Those who observe the fast are also advised to read scriptures related to Lord Muruga or recite the Kanda Shasti Kavasam or Subramaniya Bhujangam
- Visiting Skanda temples during this period is considered highly rewarding
- Many devotees consume only a single meal during the Skanda Shasti fasting period
- One can consume the meal either at noon or after dusk
- Many devotees adhere to a fruit and juice diet during this period
Many Skanda devotees regard the fasting period as a wonderful opportunity to detoxify the body and cleanse themselves of impurities. Some devotees even confine themselves to consuming only water, coconut water, or in some cases, fruit juices. The Skanda Shasti ‘Vratam’ (fasting) period ends on the sixth day. The Vratam should be observed not only to abstain from food but also regarded as a means of purifying the mind by eschewing bad thoughts and contemplating on the Lord. This ritual offers a great opportunity to discipline the mind and keep oneself in tune with the religious and spiritual plane. However, fasting should be observed by those who are physically and mentally fit. Those who are on medication or suffering from some other ailments are strongly advised to stick to their normal diet.