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Skanda Shasti in 2008

Kanda Shasthi, or Skanda Sasti Vratam, is an important Tamil festival dedicated to Lord Muruga or Kartik. It is observed in the month of Aippasi (October-November) and celebrates the victory of Lord Skanda over demon Surapadma. Tamilians, especially Muruga devotees, around world observe fasting for six days before the festival. It is a major event in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore and South Africa. In 2008, Skanda Shasti fasting begins on October 29. The date of Soorasamharam or Skanda Shasti festival is November 4. The Kanda Shasthi Thiru Kalyana Utsavam is on November 5. (In some Tamil calendars , Skanda Shasti festival is marked on November 3. Therefore please check the exact date in your local temple or local calendar.)

Lord Muruga is considered to be the most handsome god in Hindu pantheon and he is also the commander of the army of the Devas. Son of Lord Shiva and Parvati, Skanda is also known as Kartikeya and Subrahmanya. His birth was primarily to kill the demons that had created anarchy on earth.

Legend has it that Skanda killed Demon Surapadma (Soorasamharam) on the sixth day of a battle with his ‘Vel’ or lance.

The six-day Skanda Shasti Vrat is believed to be highly beneficial and is observed mainly by Tamil speaking people.

It is said that Muchukunda, a King South India, was advised by sage Vasishta regarding the correct observances of the Skanda Sashti Vratam. 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.

The fasting of Skanda Shasti begins on the Pradma Thithi after Deepavali. The first day after the Amavasi that follows 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.

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