Legend behind Skanda Sashti Kanda Shashti is associated with the birth of Lord Muruga who defeated the evil powers. According to legends, Soorapadma, a powerful demon, was harassing Devas and mankind. The helpless Devas pleased Lord Shiva to relieve them from the demon. As a result, Lord Shiva produced six powerful sparks of fire from His third eye called Netrikkan.
This was carried by Lord Vayu (god of air) and Lord Agni (god of fire) to river Ganges who in turn took to Saravana Poygai, a holy pond. These sparks became six divine small male babies who were nursed by six Karthigai pengal. Goddess Parvati hugged the kids and made them into a single child with six faces and twelve hands, called Shanmughan. Nine shaktis appeared from Goddess Parvati’s anklets from where Veerabahu and numerous soldiers emerged.
They became the warriors of Lord Murugan. Lord Shiva granted Lord Murugan, a vel (spear) called Vetrivel and also gifted him with eleven Rudras which were changed into eleven arms.Lord Murugan came to Thiruchendur with group and pursued war against Soorapadman which lasted for six days.
He defeated the demon on the sixth day and this day is called as Skanda Sashti. The Lord converted Soorapadma into a peacock and a cock. The peacock or Mayil became the vehicle of Lord Murugan and therefore He is also called Mayilvahanan (or Mayil Vahanan – which means the one who uses Peacock as his vehicle).
Seval or cock adorned his flag. Lord Muruga then married Deivayanai or Devasena who is the daughter of Indra (the Lord of Devas).Skanda Sashti CelebrationsDevotees usually fast during the six days of Kanda Sashti. It is considered auspicious to recite the Kanda Sashti Kavacham during the period.
If it is not possible to observe fast during the six days, one can eat one time meal during the period. Some devotees consume only one meal which consists of fruit and milk in the evening. Few stay in the temples during these six days. It is believed that whoever fasts on these six days of Skanda Sashti and worship Lord Muruga would get the blessings of the Lord.Skanda Sashti Festival at Murugan TemplesSkanda Sashti is celebrated in a grand scale at the Arupadai Veedu (six holy abodes of Lord Muruga).
These 6 Murugan Temples are Palani Murugan Temple, Arulmigu Swaminatha Swami Temple (Swamimalai), Tiruchendur Subrahmanya Swami Devasthanam, Thiruthani Subramanya Swamy Temple, Pazhamudircholai Murugan Temple, and Tirupparamkunram Murugan Temple.Notable one is the celebration held in Tiruchendur Temple of Muruga which draws the largest number of devotees.
Kandan's Tiruvilaiyaadal (divine sport) and Soora Samharam (defeating the demon Soorapadman) are enacted during the sixth day of the festival. The Lord's marriage with Deivanai, commonly called as Tirukalyanam, is also performed during the Skanda Sashti Festival.