Vaikasi Visakam is the day of incarnation of Lord Muruga. This occasion remains an exceptional day for Muruga worship. Vaikasi Visakam occurs when the full Moon coincides with the auspicious Vishaka star during the Tamil month of Vaikasi (May–June) and is celebrated with piety and enthusiasm.
Muruga is the divine son of the supreme God Shiva and the holy mother, Parvati. He is a unique God, a rare combination of high valor and supreme intelligence, and his worship can bestow people with strength, self-confidence, and success. Devotees can offer him prayers, chant hymns in his praise and observe austerities on special occasions like Vaikasi Visakam and seek the blessings of the Lord.
Legend of Muruga’s Birth
Muruga is believed to have appeared from the flame that emerged out of the third eye of Lord Shiva, principally for annihilating evil and establishing Dharma, the righteousness, on earth.
The advent of Muruga became necessary for saving the universe from the atrocities of the powerful demon, Surapadma, who obtained many boons, became quite powerful and started oppressing even the Gods. The compassionate Shiva opened his third eye and released a blazing flame from it. It was carried by the supernatural elements to the sacred pond Saravana Poigai, where, the fire transformed into six sparks and six handsome babies emerged out of them. As heavenly mother Parvathi very fondly hugged the six young ones together, they all merged into a single form with six heads, as Muruga. Also called in many other names such as Karthikeyan, Subramanya, Skanda, his day of birth is Vaikasi Visakam and it is celebrated as his Jayanthi.
Muruga, then, set out on his mission of ridding the universe of evil forces. Armed with the divine Vel, the lance, he led an army of celestial beings against the demons and fought and subdued the mighty Surapadma and his henchmen. That was on a Shasti, the 6th day of the waxing moon in the Tamil month of Aippasi (October–November) and the occasion is observed as Skanda Shasti.
Observing Vaikasi Visakam
This day of birth of the Lord is celebrated with great religious fervor at homes and in temples. Special worships, poojas, hydration ceremonies, decorating the deity, and austerities form parts of such festivities.
People get up early in the morning, take a bath, install the images of Muruga at the altar, decorate it, make offerings like fruits, sweet Pongal, and recite hymns like Skanda Shasti Kavacham, Subramanya Bhujangam, and Thiruppugazh in praise of the Lord. Some even do Sahasranama Archana to him. Some of the devotees undertake to fast on that day. People also visit temples on Vaikasi Visakam, offer prayers to Muruga and participate in the special poojas performed there. Many also carry milk pots, kavadis to his temples, while some pierce their faces, tongues, and body with Vels (lances) and go on Padayatra to his abodes, by covering the entire distance on foot.
Vaikasi Visakam remains an occasion of big celebrations in the Muruga temples. Special Poojas, abishekams, alankarams, archanas, homas are organized on the day. Many temples also celebrate the Brahmotsavam, the 10-day annual festival during this period, when a grand chariot procession will be held for Lord Muruga and his consorts, on the sacred Vaikasi Visakam day. The divine marriage of the Lord and the Goddesses will also be celebrated as part of the festivities.