Have you ever seen your family members not eating much on Mondays and Thursdays? Do you ever wonder why they do that? If you're curious about these things, you're in the right place. You might have noticed that many Hindu people fast on Mondays and Thursdays. But do you know why? There are stories from long ago that are connected to this. People believe that fasting on these days can bring them good luck and make their lives better. Let us take a closer look at these stories and find out the benefits of Monday fast and the real reasons behind these days.
People in various parts of India celebrate Somwar Vrat differently. In places like Maharashtra, Gujarat, and the northern states, this falls during the Hindu months of Shravan, which usually align with July to August in the Gregorian calendar. In South Indian states like Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, special significance is given to Mondays in the Hindu month of Kartik. Meanwhile, in Tamil Nadu, the Monday of the Tamil month Karthigai (which falls around November to December) is considered lucky and is celebrated as 'Karthikai Somavaram'.
Importance of Fasting in Hindu Culture
Like many religions, Hinduism also practices fasting. In Hinduism, fasting is not a must-do but a choice based on morals and spirituality. The goal is to purify the body and mind and connect with divine blessings. Different types of fasting exist, with varying levels of strictness and difficulty, depending on personal, family, and community beliefs.
Sometimes, fasting in Hinduism means skipping one meal during the day. However, it doesn't always require completely avoiding food or suffering. At times, people can swap certain foods with others without restricting the amount. Fasting in Hindu culture is considered to bring stability to the individual and help them prepare for life's challenges.
Significance of Fasting on a Monday
On the first day of the week, which is Monday, people dedicate the day to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is a powerful deity often depicted with tangled hair through which the holy river Ganga flows.
People believe that Lord Shiva is easily pleased through worship. Because of this, they fast on Mondays to make Lord Shiva happy and have their wishes granted. The reasons for fasting vary, such as seeking happiness in their home life, relief from illnesses and health problems, gaining wealth, prosperity, and overall contentment.
On Mondays, special worship is dedicated to both Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati. In Hinduism, they are seen as an ideal divine couple, especially for those seeking a happy marriage. On this day, a mixture of milk, clarified butter (ghee), honey, yogurt, and water from the Ganga River is poured over a sacred symbol representing Lord Shiva. Then, the symbol is bathed with water and some fruits are offered.
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Monday Fast Rules and Rituals
The Somwar Vrat, also known as the Monday fast begins from sunrise on Monday. Those who observe this fast start their day by waking up early in the morning and meditating on Lord Shiva. After that, they take a sacred bath and offer prayers to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. On this day, it's customary for those fasting to wear white clothing.
- This fast starts in the morning and concludes at sunset.
- In the morning, sprinkle sacred Ganga water, milk, and yogurt on the Shivling. Then adorn it with white flowers and fresh fruits.
- Throughout the day, continuously chant the mantra "Om Namah Shivaya" until dusk.
- For lunch, people should consume fruits or Sabudana khichdi.
- You can conclude this fast with the udyapan ceremony and a Shiva puja on the subsequent Shivaratri day.
- While it is traditional to perform these rituals in a temple, those who face challenges visiting a temple can still conduct their prayers at home.
Here are some benefits of Monday Fast
Let us now know about the benefits of fasting on Monday. Here are some 16 Somvar Vrat benefits of fasting.
Wisdom: Fasting on Mondays can lead to increased wisdom.
Emotional Balance: People often experience a balanced mindset and better control over their emotions.
Blessings from Lord Shiva: Individuals who fast on Mondays are believed to receive blessings from Lord Shiva. He is also thought to offer protection from negative forces.
Good Life Partners for Women: Women who observe fasting for 16 consecutive Mondays are said to be blessed with good life partners.
Strengthening the Moon: Fasting on Mondays is thought to enhance the positive influence of the Moon in a person's astrological birth chart (Kundli).
Fulfilling Desires: One more benefit of Monday fast is believed to be in helping individuals fulfill their desires and aspirations.
Moon's Blessings: People who fast on Mondays are believed to receive blessings from the Moon.
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What can a person eat during Monday's fast?
On Mondays, the traditional story is read in the evening. Throughout the day, followers chant the mantra 'Om Namah Shivaya.' On this day, those observing the fast have the option to either fast completely or have lunch in the afternoon. Some devotees might choose to consume Sabudana Khichdi or fruits as part of their partial fasting.
What can do during Monday's fast?
After the completion of their regular morning rituals and prayers, the devotees break their fast the next day. Afterward, they share the blessed food offering (Prasad) with other devotees. People who usually visit the temple on Mondays often visit Lord Shiva's temple in the morning and evening. However, if this is not possible, they can offer their prayers at home.
In short, fasting on Mondays holds a mix of cultural, spiritual, and potential health benefits. Over time, various cultures and religions have attached importance to Monday, making it a day of rejuvenation, contemplation, and revitalization. Fasting on Monday can provide a means to purify both body and mind, encouraging discipline and self-restraint. For those interested in a more comprehensive approach, seeking guidance from our astrologer can provide additional insight into the practice of fasting on Mondays.