Skanda Sashti: The Festival of Lord Murugan

Skanda Sashti is an important Hindu festival dedicated to the worship of Lord Skanda – God of war. It celebrates the Victory of Lord Skanda who defeated the demon Surapadma to memorialize the triumph of good over evils. This auspicious festival is observed on the 6th day of the lunar month as per the Tamil Calendar. Skanda Sashti is also known as Kanda Shashti. Lord Skanda is also known as Kartikeya, Subramaniya, Skanda, Kumara Swami, and Kumaran.

Skanda Sashti 2021 Dates

In 2021, it falls on the following dates

2021 Skanda Sashti Dates
Pausha, Shukla SashtiMonday, 18 January
Magha, Shukla SashtiWednesday, 17 February
Phalguna, Shukla SashtiFriday, 19 March
Chaitra, Shukla SashtiSunday, 18 April
Vaisakha, Shukla SashtiMonday, 17 May
Jyeshtha, Shukla SashtiWednesday, 16 June
Asadha, Shukla SashtiThursday, 15 July
Shravan, Shukla SashtiFriday, 13 August
Bhadrapada, Shukla SashtiSunday, 12 September
Aswina, Shukla SashtiMonday, 11 October
Kartika, Shukla SashtiTuesday, 09 November
Margashirsha, Shukla SashtiThursday, 09 December

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The Sashti tithi (6th day) of the Shukla paksha in the month of Kartika (October-November) is the most auspicious of them all. It is one of the renowned and auspicious occasions celebrated in the Indian States of Tamil Nadu. On this felicitous day, Lord Murugan is revered across the country especially in the South Indian States. It is believed that a person who offers prayers and observes fasting on Shasti will generously receive the blessings of Lord Murugan.

Skanda Sashti Celebration

Corresponding to the six days of the war over the evil forces; devotees undertake fasts, prayers, and devotional singing to Lord Murugan. Most of the devotees stay in the temples during these six days. During these days, devotees recite various inspiring hymns and read stories connected with Lord Subramanya. They worship the Lord and take Kavadi. The Offering of Kavadi on Skanda Sasti is a form of popular worship. They go on pilgrimage to the various Lord Skanda shrines.

The festival of Skanda Sashti is a ten-day-long event in Tamil Nadu and some other states. In the temple for Lord Subramanya located in Tiruchendur, a grand festival is celebrated on these days, and to conclude the festival the event of Sura Samhar or the killing of the demons by Lord Skanda is enacted to this day. Devotees throng to witness this grand event and seek the blessings of Lord Skanda.

Skanda Sashti Vrat

 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 meals only one time a day- either in the morning or the night.

Vrat Method depends on person to person. Followers obey distinct traditional customs to fast on each day of the festivity.  Each and everyone observes it uniquely and differently in each corner of the world. Fasts are not merely observed for worshipping Lord. Practitioners also keep vrat for 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 Sashti 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.

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.

Temples dedicated to Lord Murugan

Lord Murugan – The Triumph of the Power

This distinguished festival solemnizes the triumph of Lord Subramanya by defeating the brutal devil- Taraka and also vanquished demon- Surapadma on the day of Skanda Shashti. Lord Subramanya 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 conveys 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 to Deivanai on this propitious sacrament. Tirukalyana is the holy name of the Wedding day which was 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 day 1. Thousands of Devotees throng the in-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 active 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 to be silent and calm for these days, others involve themselves in the rituals and traditional ceremonies. For 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 the Skanda Sashti festivity. Lord Kartikeyan’s favorite 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.

It is commonly revered in all Shaivites and Lord Shiva’s Temple with extra- zeal and fervor.



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