Skanda Shashti / Kanda Sasti Vrata or Maha Shasti Vrata is an important observance dedicated to Lord Subramanya. It falls in the Tamil month of Aippasi (October - November). It is a very auspicious day in the South Indian Hindu calendar.
During Kanda Sasti viratham, devotees observe six days fasting which starts from first day and ends on the sixth day which is known as Soorasamharam day. Soorasamharam is the final and the most important day of the six days festivities. Lord Subramanya defeated Demon Surapadma on the very same day and the festival of Soorasamharam is observed every year to mark the victory of good over evil. Lakhs of devotees will participate in Skanda Shasthi festival at Tiruchendur (Tamil Nadu) since Lord Subramanya defeated Surapadma in this palce.
Sri Subrahmanya Bhujangam, a beautiful stotra composed by Sri Adi Sankaracharya. Skanda Sashti Kavacham / Kavasam, composed by Devaraya Swamigal. Shanmuga Kavasam, a powerful hymn composed by Pamban Swamigal.
Fasting or Vrata is not only a part of worship, but a great instrument for self-discipline too. It is also an opportunity to clean the body and get rid of unwanted toxic elements.
It must be noted that 'Vrata' in Sanskrit means 'vow'. Vratam should not be misunderstood as mere fasting. By observing a Vrata a person is trying to purify his mind through meditation, worship and by sticking to some 'vow' that he/she has taken. Now, this vow can include fasting, not telling lies, not getting anger etc. A Vratam should be seen as a deliberate attempt on your part to bring back discipline into your life.
For those people who are unable to follow the above mentioned procedures due to job, health and other reasons, then they can take a single meal a day.
Fasting should be voluntary and it should not be done unwillingly. If you are taking medicines, do not observe intense fasting and stick to the routine suggested by your doctor.
Fasting should not make us weak, irritable or create an urge to indulge later. This happens when there is no noble goal behind fasting. The Bhagavad Gita urges us to eat appropriately - neither too less nor too much - yukta-aahaara, and to eat simple, pure and healthy food (a saatvik diet) even when not fasting.