Skanda Shasti is a famous festival in Tamilnadu. I want to know what is Skanda Shasti and Skanda Shasti Fasting? How to observe this fasting and pooja?
Skanda is Lord Shiva & Goddess Parvati's son,younger brother of Ganapaty, also known by names such as Karthikeya,Shanmuga etc.
The Puranas say that Karthikeya was born on Sukla Shashti tithi in the MArgasirsha month.Hence the name Skanda Shasti,which is the day/vrata dedicated to Lord Karthikeya.Just like the Ekadashi Tithis are dedicated to Vratas related to Lord Vishnu ,Chaturthi Tithis to Lord Ganapaty similarly the Sukla Paksha Shasti Tithi is dedicated to Lord Karthikeya.
Sashti Tithi is dedicated to Lord Skanda. Devotees keep fast during Shukla Paksha Sashti day. For Skanda Sashti Vratam the day when Sashti Tithi is combined with Panchami Tithi is preferred. Hence Skanda Sashti Vratam might be observed on Panchami Tithi.
Skanda Sashti is also known as Kanda Shashti
The Varaha Purana describes the origin & importance of Skanda Shasti as follows:
The birth of Kartikeya at the Krittika Star on the Sixth day of the bright fortnight of Margasira month (Krittika Nakshatra of Shashthi Tithi of Suddha Paksha of Margasirsha Month) brought relief to the Universe, immense joy to the Siva Couple, sense of liberation to all Devas who were indeed the direct beneficiaries since Brahma�s boon was that only Siva�s son could terminate the Demon Tarakasura and finally great fear and apprehension to Tarakasura and followers! Brahma had formally declared Shashthi of every month would be a day of austerity and fast only with �Phalaahar� or fruits as food. Those who are deviod of sons, prosperity and status ought to observe the fast and recite the above Karikeya Stuti for instant results.
The Karthikeya Stuti referred to in the passage above is this:
�Bhavasva Deva Senani Maheswarastuta Prabho Shanmukha Kanda Visvesha kukkutadwaja Paavake- Kampitare Kumaresha Skanda Balagrahnuga Jitaare Krounchavidhvamsa Krittikasuta Matruja- Bhutagrahapati sreshtha Paavaki Priya Darshana, Maha Bhutapateh Putra Trilochana Namostutey- Yvam Stutastada Devaihi vavardha Bhavanandanah, Dwadasaadithya samkaso vabhuvaadhuta Darshanah Trilokyamapi tattejasthaapayamaasa Parthiva!�
One who knows tamil can also recite the famous Kanda Shasti Kavacham on the Vrata days.