How to do Shasti Pooja or How to observe Sashti Viratham Fasting is one popular question asked by most Lord Murugan devotees all over the world. Sashti, meaning sixth day, falls on the sixth day of the full moon and the sixth day of the new moon in the Hindu calendar. Shasti Vritham is a fast observed by Hindus to appease Lord Subramanya or Lord Muruga who is considered as Vedic God. Sashti is a bimonthly occurrence where people observe partial or full fast on each Sashti day. Of all the Sashti vratam, Skanda Shasti Vrata is of great importance. This year, Kanda Sashti Vrata 2015 is on 17th November 2015.
How to observe fast on Sashti day - Sashti Vratha
Sashti Vrata fast starts at sunrise and is finished on the next day by worshipping Lord Surya (the chief solar deity). Devotees avoid non-vegetarian food and spices on the day. Reading of Skanda Purana and reciting of Kanta Shasti Kavasam or Skanda Sashti Kavacham are performed by the devotees during the day. Visiting Murugan temples on this day is considered auspicious.
Kanda Sashti or Skanda Sashti of Lord Muruga
The Sashti falling in on the new moon period in the Hindu lunar month of Aippasi or Aswin (October - November) is the Kanda Sashti day. Skanda Sashti is a six-day festival which commemorates the destruction of a demon called Surapadman by Lord Muruga. The Kanda Sashti fast is observed in Arupadai Veedu of Murugan - the six sacred temples of Lord Muruga in Tamil Nadu. They are Tiruchendur Temple (Sea shore Murugan temple near Tirunelveli), Thirupparankunram (temple near Madurai), Palani Hill Temple, Swami Malai (hill temple near Kumbakonam), Thiruthanigai (hill temple near Chennai) and Pazhamudhir Solai (hill temple near Madurai).
The demon was destroyed at Tiruchendur. On the Sashti day that is on the sixth day, the festival called Sura Samharam is celebrated in all Lord Murugan temples in large scale. During the festival, a battle is depicted with the giant images of four demons and they are made to appear before Lord Muruga. The Lord chases them and destroys the demons using his Vel or lance. The festival comes to an end on the next day with the Divine marriage (Tirukalyanam) between Lord Muruga and Valli. In Thiruchendur Murugan Temple and Pazhani Murugan Temple, the Kanda Sashti is celebrated in a grand manner.
People observe fast on the six days. On the day of Kanda Sashti, few people use only a single meal either in the noon or at night. Certain people choose only fruits and juices during the six days. The fasting comes to an end on the sixth day.
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