Mondays in the Hindu month of Kartik (October – November) are dedicated to Lord Shiva. Shiva devotees observe the Kartik Monday vrat or fasting known as Kartika Somavar Vratam. It must be noted that the Tamil Month Kartika or Kaarthigai is from mid November to mid December.
The Mondays in the month is also highly auspicious for Lord Vishnu devotees and is known as Kartika Damodara. But generally the Mondays in the month Kartik are noted for Lord Shiva worship. Many people make it a point to visit Lord Shiva shrines on the Mondays of the month.
The importance of Somavara Vratam in mentioned in the Skanda Purana and is performed for the well-being of the family.
Those undertaking the Karti Somavar Vrat do not consume food after sunrise. Some people opt for a liquid diet or fruit diet and others go for the traditional strict fasting of without food.
Puja is performed early in the morning. The puja begins with prayer to Lord Ganesh. A picture of Lord Shiva or Shivling is used for the prayer. It must be noted here that according to Hindu scriptures Lord Shiva is also known as Ashutosh – one who is easily pleased. So a devotee needed not worry about the puja rituals. A simple recital of ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ will please Lord Shiva.
The Vrat ends with the evening puja after sunset. People usually avoid diet consisting of garlic and onion while breaking a fast.