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South India Celebrates Skanda Shasti and North India Worship Sun God

DateOctober 17, 2018

Skanda Shasti: Muruga’s Day of Victory in 6-Day Battle

The occasion of Skanda Shasti is meant for worshipping Lord Skanda or Muruga. Shasti is the sixth Thithi or the lunar day, and here, it refers to the one falling in Shukla Paksha, the bright fortnight of the Moon. Such a Shasti day falling in the Tamil month Aippasi (October–November) is observed as Skanda Shasti.

It was on that day Muruga, the divine son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, won a comprehensive victory against the ferocious army of the mighty demon Soorapadma, after fighting a heroic battle with the Asuras for full five days. Skanda Shasti, the Shasti day dedicated for Skanda worship, consists of grand celebrations, when devotees observe Vrats like fasting, perform austerities, visit his temples in large numbers and offer prayers to him. Skanda Shasti usually comes a few days after Diwali.


Northern Parts of India Celebrates Sun God

Skanda or Muruga is regarded as a Tamil God, and his worship is most ardently done in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. Hence, it is mostly among the Tamil people that Skanda Shasti assumes immense significance. However, Muruga worship is not so prevalent in North, but that Shasti occasion remains a day for worship and celebration there. This is of course for a different reason.

The Shasti of Aippasi that follows the Diwali Amavasya is earmarked for Surya worship in some Northern parts of the country. Called as Shat Pooja, this is celebrated principally in and around water bodies like rivers, lakes, ponds, etc. As this worship is dedicated to the Sun God, this also goes by the name Ravi Shat, the Shasti day devoted to Surya worship.

People, especially married women living on the banks of holy rivers like the Ganges, observe Vrats or austerities for three days and perform Shat Pooja, offering prayers to the Sun God, seeking his grace for the welfare of their family, and near and dear ones.

As per the custom, materials for worship like coconuts, flowers, fruits, sandal paste, sugarcane stalks, sweets, snacks, etc. are brought to the banks of water bodies, where people erect makeshift tents out of sugarcane stalks and spread Pooja materials inside. Then at the evening time of sunset on the Shasti day, women take a bath in rivers and lakes, and perform Pooja to the Sun God, reciting hymns in his praise and making water offerings to him. This Pooja is also performed at the time of sunrise on the next day.

There is a firm belief that performing this Pooja can help people get the blessings of the Sun God, and will bestow them and their families with good health, wealth and welfare.

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