Skanda Shasti or Kanda Shasthi is a major festival dedicated to Lord Muruga or Kartikeya. It is observed in the month of Aippasi (October-November) and commemorates the victory of Lord Skanda over Demon Surapadma. The Skanda Shasti fasting in 2007 begins on November 10 and the Soorasamharam or Skanda Shasti festival is on November 15. The Kanda Shasthi Thiru Kalyana Utsavam is on November 16.
The Skanda Shasti Vrat is believed to be highly beneficial and is observed mainly by Tamil speaking people. The Shasti vrat is also famous in Kerala.
Legend has it that Muchukunda, a King South India, was advised by sage Vasishta regarding the correct observances of the Skanda Sashti Vrata. After observing the Vrata, King Muchukunda became powerful and famous and the fame of his kingdom spread around the three worlds. It is said that the King became so powerful that Lord Indra took his help to defeat Asuras.
Skanda, son of Lord Shiva, symbolizes valor and is often referred as the General of the Army of Devas. His birth was primarily to annihilate the demons that had crated mayhem on earth.
Legend has it that Skanda killed Demon Surapadma (Soorasamharam) on the sixth day of the battle with his ‘Vel’ or lance. The fasting of Skanda Shasti begins on the Pradma Thithi after Deepavali. During the fasting period, devotees confine to a single meal. Some people only fast on the Soorasamharam day. The fasting ends with the Tirukalyanam on the next day.