Skanda Shasti celebrates the Victory of Lord Muruga (Surapadma) who defeated the demon Surapadma to memorialize the triumph of good over evils. It is observed on the 6th day of the lunar month as per the Tamil Calendar.
There are basically 10 Skanda Sashti commemorated in a year. In 2018, it would fall on the following dates:-
22 January (Monday)
21 February (Wednesday)
22 March (Thursday)
21 April (Saturday)
20 May (Sunday)
18 June (Monday)
17 July (Tuesday)
16 August (Thursday)
14 September (Friday)
14 October (Sunday)
It is one of the renowned and the auspicious occasions celebrated in the Indian States of Tamil Nadu. On this felicitous day, Lord Murugan is revered across the country especially in South Indian States.
The Triumph of the Power (Subhramanya)
History says: This distinguished festival solemnizes the triumph of Lord Subhramanya by defeating the brutal devil- Taraka and also vanquished demon- Surapadma on the day of Skanda Shashti .Lord Subhramanya is an eminent divinity in Tamil Nadu state. He is a venerable God whose father was- Lord Shiva. He was Lord Shiva’s Second Son and is popular as- Kartikeya, Shanmukha, Kumaresa, Velayudhan, Murugan and Guha among the South- Indian Peeps. This day is dedicated to him only, who is the second son of Lord Shiva and Goddess-Parvati.
A Message from the Lord- Tiruchendur:
Skanda sashti convey a lesson to the world- whosoever follows the path of rightness, dedication and spirituality will get the blessings of Lord- Tiruchendur.
Tirukalyana- Marriage Ceremony of God
It is believed that- Muruga divinity got married with Deivanai on this propitious sacrament. Tirukalyana is the holy name of the Wedding day which performed during the Skanda Sashti Festival.
Piercing the Body Parts- The Toughest Ritual
The festival of Skanda Sashti lasts for 6 days; the rituals get started from the day 1. Thousands of Devotees throng in a ground or open area to perform a peculiar traditional ritual. The South Indian folks involve themselves for 6 days in an exceptional and the toughest ritual in which they pierce long needles arrows or darts through their tongue, cheeks and sometimes lips as they go into a delirium charmed by the powers of the Lord.
Strict Penance- A Traditional Observance
Saints/Monks/Nuns observe a hard penance (Tapasya) on this divine worship. The practitioners take actively participation in austerities and follow stern disciplines and rules while doing it.
While many followers respect to follow the principles of Truth and Enlightenment through this six- day festivity. They prefer to choose being silent and calm for these days, others involve themselves in the rituals and traditional ceremonies. Those who worship him by real devotion and dedication, Lord shower his blessings on him and fulfill their wishes and desires.
The importance of SIX in Muruga’s Life:
Number six plays a very important role in Skanda Sashti festivity. Lord Kartikeyan’s favourite is 6-number. This noteworthy occasion is revered for six days in South- India. Lord Muruga has six human characteristics (incarnations). He depicts the Sixth Sense of the Universe. The mantra recited for God has-syllables ‘Sa Ra Va Na Ba Va’. The number six is of great significance in Skanda Sashti.
Vratha (Fasting): A Mandatory Custom:
Devotees of Lord- Shiva and his Son- Kartikeyan observe a strict fast on this eminent occasion of 6 days. Worshippers follow some set of rituals and Pooja ceremonies during these 6 days of the Festival and do not eat any dishes prepared from Garlic and Onion. They do not even consume Non-Vegetarian Food and take meal only one time a day- either in the morning or the night.
Vratha Method depends on person to person. Followers obey distinct traditional customs to fast on each day of the festivity. Each and everyone observe it uniquely and differently in each corner of the world. Fasts are not merely observed for worshipping Lord. Practitioners also keep Vratha for the inner- satisfaction and self-discipline. It is a holy practice to clean the body and get rid of unwanted and non-healthy toxic components.
Other Traditional Culture:
- Worshipers recite holy Mantras and Shlokas on the name of Muruga and chant- Kanta Shasti Kavasam and Subrahmanya Bhujangam in sacred vicinity.
- They sing various traditional hymns and devotional songs to impress Lord- Kartikeyan and to pay homage to him.
- Visit nearby Muruga Temples and read religious folk- tales and mythological stories on Skanda Purana of Lord Subramanya.
The famous Holy Places to visit on Skanda- Sashti:
The festival of six days -Skanda Sashti is memorialized ten times in a year. Being a major sacred observance in South- India state, Most of the temples in this state and numerous holy places across India celebrate this distinguished festivity with magnificence and grandeur everywhere.
Skanda Sashti is observed on an imposing scale in these well-known Temples:
- Arupadai Veedu- the famous six holy temples of Murugan.
- Tiruchendur (Tamil Nadu)- Lord Subramanya conquered Surapadma in its vicinity.
- Palani Murugan Temple
- Arulmigu Swaminatha Swami Temple (Swamimalai)
- Tiruchendur Subrahmanya Swami Devasthanam
- Thiruthani Subramanya Swamy Temple
- Pazhamudircholai Murugan Temple
- Tirupparamkunram Murugan Temple.
- Kandan’s Tiruvilaiyaadal
It is commonly revered in all Shaivites and Lord Shiva’s Temple with extra- zeal and fervour.