As per the Hindu Calendar, every lunar month is marked by two Chathurthi Tithis. One is the Sankashti Chathurthi and the other is Vinayaka Chathurthi. Sankashti Chathurthi occurs during Krishna Paksha on the full-moon day called Purnimasi, whereas the other one which is Vinayaka Chathurthi, dawns immediately following Amavasya or the new moon day, at the time of Shukla Paksha.
Fasting During Sankashti Chathurthi:
Fasting for Sankashti Chathurthi is highly popular in the western part of the country i.e. Maharashtra and down south in Tamil Nadu. There are two schools of thought about the fasting ritual for Sankashti Chathurthi. The Purnimant School are of the belief that Sankashti Chathurthi occurs during the month of Magha, whereas believers from Amavasyant School consider this auspicious thithi to fall during Paush maasam, and hence fasting must be observed at that time. One more variation is the Angarki Chathurthi, referring to Sankashti Chathurthi occurring on a Tuesday, and believed as highly favorable. Sankashti Chathurthi during the Magha maasam also goes by the name of Sakat Chauth in North India.
Sankashti Chathurthi is stated to absolve one from bad destiny hence devotees pray and maintain fast to Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles. On this day, devotees reinforce their faith and belief by praying and fasting to Lord Ganesha hoping that God will eliminate all sorrows and troubled times.
Observing the Fast:
So how does one observe the fast? Strict maintenance of fasting ritual is a must on this day. Intake of food should be restricted solely to fruits and roots. A popular food item prepared at the time of the Sankashti Chathurthi fast is the sago-based khitchdi popularly known as Sabudana Khitchadi. Other ingredients included in this popular fasting recipe of Sabudana Khitchadi are diced potatoes and roasted peanuts.
Ganesh Chathurthi, one of the well-known festivals of India marks the birthday of Lord Ganesha. Ganesh Chathurthi takes place during the month of Bhadrapada and is celebrated with great fanfare all over India. However, in Tamil Nadu, Sankashti Chathurthi is alternately referred to by the name of Ganesh Sankatahara which means Lord Ganesh, the obstacle remover.
Effect of Geographical Location on the Timing of Sankashti Chathurthi:
The location holds a great significance in the timing of Sankashti Chathurthi. It can vary from one city to the other hence it is important to keep track of the city or place one is residing, even though both might be within India. This is vital especially for the beginning and ending of fasting time. It should be noted that the deciding factor for fasting on Sankashti Chathurthi is moon rise timing. The fasting for Sankashti Chathurthi can take off on a day prior to the Chathurthi Thithi. In other words, it on Tritya Thithi. Since the timing for rising of moon varies in different parts of India, it would be wise to check out the Hindu calendar available online to know exact details regarding Sankashti Chathurthi in one’s local area. Our website here furnishes complete details based on information of Sankashti Chathurthi for the help of those wishing to observe fast.