Skanda Sashti is an important festival for the Hindus as it is dedicated to Lord Skanda, the God of war and son of Shiva and Parvati. Lord Skanda is known by several names including Murugan, Kartikeyan, and Subramanya. The festival is observed on the Sashti Tithi of Shukla Paksha every month. Skanda holds special reverence among Tamil Hindus and is considered the younger brother of Lord Ganesha in south India, while in north India he is said to be the elder brother of Ganesh
Skanda Sashti: Significance
Lord Murugan is known for eliminating demons named Soorapadman and his brothers Tarakasura and Simhamukha and Sashti Tithi of Shukla Paksha marks his victory over them. It is said that Lord Murugan severed the head of Soorapadman using his weapon called Vel or Lance. Two birds emerged from the severed head - a peacock that became his vahana and a rooster that became an emblem on his flag.
By keeping fast or vrat on Skanda Sashti day, devotees pay their tributes to the Lord for killing the demon and restoring peace.
Skanda Sashti: Ritual
Devotees on this day get up early, take a bath, worship Lord Murugan and observe a fast for the whole day. They offer an oil lamp, incense sticks, flowers, kumkum, etc to him. Some devotees also visit a temple to offer their prayers.
As per the rituals, fasting begins with sunrise and is broken on the next day morning. Also, the method of fasting depends on an individual as some observe a full-day fast while others undertake partial fasting.