Lord Murugan is the reigning deity who is worshipped in the Skanda Sashthi. Skanda Shasthi is celebrated and according to the Gregorian calendar is observed in October- November.
It is celebrated by all the Saivites with fervor all over Tamil Nadu, in the temples of Subramanya, or Murugan.
Soora Samharam is celebrated on the last day of the Skanda sashthi. In fact it is the most important day of the entire 6 day long Skanda Sashthi celevration. It is observed on the 6th day of the Karthika Masam and in 2019, the Soora Samharam will be observed on the 2nd of November, Saturday.
- Legend of Soora Samharam
Long ago, when the Gods were harassed by the demon Tarakasura, Lord Brahma, proclaimed that only a spark of Lord Shiva can defeat Tarakasura as the Gods have been unable to fight him. Lord Shiva was in deep meditation and no one dared to disturb him. Gods then took the help of Parvati and Kama – the Lord of Love. Parvati, engaged herself in penance to arouse Lord Shiva from his meditation and Kama, shot his arrows of Love at Lord Shiva. Shiva woke, and the fire of his wrath burnt down Kama to ashes.
No one could bear the terribly angry seeds of Shivas fiery energy . he directed it towards the mouth of Agni. Agni later gave it to Ganges, who took it to the Sara Vana, or the forest of grasses like arrows. The six sparks were six babies on six red lotus flowers. Parvati hugged them together and made them into one. Saravanabha was born in this way. Lord Murugan and Saravanabha are the one and the same.
- Fight between good and evil
Indra, his son Sayantan and his commander in chief Veerabahu lost the battle against the demon Soorapadman. Soorapadman not only defeated them but also held the other Gods captive along with them.
Lord Shiva knew that he had to send someone fit to take on Soorapadman. Thus he sent Lord Murugan to fight the battle with him. He also sent 11 rudras with 11 weapons and Parvati gave the Vel or the lance to Murugan for the upcoming battle.
Lord Murugan and his army stayed in Thiruchendur. He killed Tarakasur and the son of Soorapadman too in the battle. Soorapadman took the form of a huge mango tree to defeat Lord Murugan. However he cut the tree in two with his vel and finally on the 6th day defeated the demon Soorapadman. Thus this day has come to be known as Soora Samharam. It is the day which is celebrated to rejoice at the win over the Asuras by God.
- Celebration of Soora Samharam
Tamil devotees observe this day with utmost devotion by keeping a fast. They observe and rejoice at the win of Lord Murugan for freeing the world from a tyrant. Special pujas are conducted on this day at all the Murugan temples. Lord Murugans’s deity is anointed or an abhishekam done before the pujas. A procession called Palani is taken out from the hill temple and then throughout the city before the Sooranporu.
The next day is celebrated grandly. It is known as Thirukalyanam. This is the day when the marriage between Lord Murugan and Devasena took place.
The Soora Samharam festival is the most grandly celebrated in the Tiruchendur Murgan Temple. The godly act of Soora Samharam is symbolic because of its win over evil and darkness.