As per Hinduism, Fasting (Vrat) is usually observed by devout Hindus for the achievement of an oath. It is not only meant for materialistic gains, but also for harmony and peace within. As per Hindu mythology, each day of the week is dedicated to one or more Hindu Gods. Upvas (Vrat) begins with the sunrise and ends at sunset. On the day of fasting, the native can be observed eating only after the evening prayers. Every fasting has its own procedures and importance.
Monday (Somavaar) is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Known to be the father of Lord Ganesha, no puja can ever start without Ganpati Pujan (worship of Lord Ganesha). After seeking blessings from Ganpati, Lord Shiva & Goddess Parvati are worshipped on this day. Devotees, who observe fast on this day, are blessed with the fulfillment of all their dreams and desires. This fast is commonly kept by young girls (unmarried ladies) who wish to be blessed with a husband like Lord Shiva. There are three ways of observing this fast:
- Simple Monday fast,
- Som Pradosh vrat,
- Solah somavaar.
It is believed that even Goddess Parvati observed the fast of Solah Somavaar with deep devotion for Lord Shiva.
How To Begin The Monday Fast?
For a fruitful result, one should start Monday fast from Shukla Paksha of Savan month (June-July) with a clean heart. One can keep either the simple Monday fast or the Solah Somvars as per one’s determination.
After taking bath, one should sit facing Northeast. Clean the idol with Ganga jal, and light a diya after applying tilak on the idol. Remember that the kumkum is never offered to Lord Shiva. It is advised that only chandan (sandalwood) should be used for Lord Shiva and kumkum for Goddess Parvati. Offer incense sticks, diya, five type of seasonal fruits while chanting the mantra “OM NAMAH SHIVAY” for 108 times. The devotees hear Somvar Vrat katha on the day of fasting in a hope that their wish would be fulfilled.
Preferred Color: Blue
Tuesday (Mangalvaar) is dedicated to Mahavir Hanuman, who was a great devotee of Lord Rama. It is considered to be a very strict fast. This is generally kept by males for immense flow of success, strength and fast-recovery from illness. Besides this, this fasting is considered for Mangal (Mars), as Lord Hanuman helps nullify the ill-effects of the troublesome planet, Mars.
How To Begin Tuesday Fast/Vrat?
The observer should take bath and seek blessings from Lord Hanuman. The person should worship Lord Hanuman by lighting a diya while offering red flowers. A tilak of sandalwood paste must be applied on the idol of Lord Hanuman. Chant Hanuman Chalisa for 108 times. The observer should eat only after sunset. Salt should be avoided.
Preferred Color: Red
This day is dedicated to the planet, Mercury, and Lord Vithal, who was an avatar of Lord Krishna. In Budhvaar Vrat, Lord Krishna and Lord Vishnu are worshipped. Wednesday is considered a good day for starting a new venture and educational activity. It helps maintain harmony in family life. Couples are advised to observe fast together on this day for a blissful married life.
How to keep Wednesday Fast?
On this day, everything offer by the devotee to the planet Mercury must be green-colored. Food must be eaten only after reading the Budh katha in the evening. After the katha is over, Lord Shiva must be offered the leaves of Bael tree. Keeping this fast with devotion can end all family disputes as well as troubles.
Prefered Color: Green
Lord Brihaspati represents money; hence, the observer should worship Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu for monetary gains and mental peace. Some people keep this fast for removing obstacles of their married life. The people who experience weak Jupiter in their horoscope must keep this fast with full dedication to seek blessings and prosperity.
How to observe Thursday fast?
One should start the fast on the first Thursday of Shukla Paksha. The observer should keep fasts for 16 consecutive Thursdays (Brihaspativaar). On the fasting day, one should take bath before the sunrise. One must avoid using soap or washing the head on this day. Later, the observer should sit with the face towards Northeast, and worship Lord Vishnu and Brihaspati Grah by offering yellow flowers, sandalwood paste and a yellow dish as prasadh.
The devotee should hear Brihaspati katha in evening, and should give away yellow colored things such as clothes as ‘daan’ (donation). The observer should eat only yellow dishes without any salt on this day.
Preferred Color: Yellow
Shukravaar (Friday) is devoted to Goddess Durga. It is also dedicated to Mata Santoshi, an incarnation of Goddess Durga. The observer must keep 16 vrat (fast), known as Solah Shukravaar Vrat, to get what they desire. Women keep this fast for strength and physical & mental fitness. If the Shukra (Venus) is weak in one’s horoscope, he/she is advised to keep this fast, in order to nullify the harmful effects of the same.
How To Observe The Friday Fast?
On Friday, women fast for Santoshi Ma. They should, therefore, avoid eating any sour food. Fast should be for at least sixteen Fridays. On completion of these sixteen fasts, they must invite girls in odd number such as 7 or 11 (the girls should be of 16 years) for Kanya Pujan and should offer gifts and food to them.
Preferred Color: Blue or White
Saturday (Shanivaar) fast is observed to nullify the harmful effects of the planet Saturn (Shani). Shani represents cruelty. If the native is suffering from any evil effects of Shani, he/she should donate black colored items such as black cloth, metal, black gram, black til, etc. Generally, one should donate mustard oil and a coin in iron bowl, after having a glimpse of their shadow in it.
How to observe the Saturday Fast?
Many people worship Peepal tree in the evening by lighting diya beneath it and tying threads around the bark. People also worship Lord Hanuman on Saturdays because Hanuman rescued Lord Shani from Ravana during Ramayana. Since then, the black-skinned Lord Shani respects Lord Hanuman, and never harms His devotees. The devotees should eat only once in a day, that too after offering prayers in the evening. The evening food must contain any black colored food item, such as sesame oil, black gram, mustard etc. If possible, avoid salt on your fasting day.
Prefered Color: Black
Lord Sun (Surya Narayana) is worshipped on this day. He is known to fulfill the desires of a person. This fast helps clean one’s aura and improves his status in society. Besides this, devotees can observe this fast for overcoming any problems related to skin.
How To Observe The Sunday Fast?
One should take bath early in the morning. Take a copper kalash (pot), with kumkum or sandalwood paste inside it, and a red flower. Pour Holy water inside the kalash and offer the water to Surya devta by pouring it outside, facing towards the Sun. Remember to chant the Gayatri mantra three times while offering the water. Devotees are advised to eat one meal in a day, before sunset. Avoid eating salt, oily or fried items.
Preferred Color: Red
7 DAYS FASTS – SAPTVAAR VRAT
There are seven days in the week. A different god governs each day. Depending upon the purpose of the fast, one fasts accordingly. A common reason for fasting is to get over the malefic effect of a particular planet or god, or to achieve something through a blessing of the god. For each day there is a different procedure, different ways to pray to God, and also a different katha to read or arti to sing. However one resolves to fast, one must understand the details of different fasts.
A fast on Sunday is devoted to Surya – the sun
Eye problems or those pertaining to heat and skin may affect one. Blessings from Surya enable one to receive honour and fame and achieve success over enemies. Food is eaten once in the day before sunset. Food must not be eaten after sunset. It must be free of salt and oil. It must not be tamsik. One must offer prayers to Surya and read or listen to the prescribed katha. Only then one must eat. To appease Surya one should wear ruby. When inclined to give charity one must give wheat, red pulses, jaggery, or metals like gold and copper or ruby amongst gems. The best time to give charity is at sunset.
A fast on Monday is devoted to Chandrama – the moon
Prayers are offered to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Since they had a long, happy married life, fasting on Mondays helps one find a suitable marital partner. There are three kinds of fasts observed on Mondays. The routine fast observed on a Monday is the saumya pradosh – the fast to seek pardon for a fault, and a fast for 16 Mondays. The procedure to be followed is similar, but in each case the katha to be read or heard is different. Food is eaten once in the day. Cereals are permitted. After prayers to Shiva and Parvati one must read or hear the appropriate katha. To appease Chandrama one must wear pearls and silver. When inclined to give charity, one must give white things like rice, white clothes, conch shells, silver or pearls.
A fast on Tuesday is devoted to Mangal – the planet Mars
It is believed that fasting for 12 Tuesdays helps overcome the malefic effects of this planet. All kinds of obstacles are overcome. It also brings fame and honour. Prayers must be offered to Hanuman. Use of red clothes and red flowers is auspicious. Food prepared of wheat and jaggery must be eaten once in the day. After prayers to Hanuman one must read the katha.
A fast on Wednesday is devoted to Budh – the planet Mercury
One must preferably eat green things once in the day. One must pray to Lord Shiva and follow it by reading or hearing the katha. To appease Budh one must wear emerald in gold. When inclined to give charity one must give moong (green gram – Phaseolus mungo), kasturi (musk), blue clothes, gold, copper and five gems.
A fast on Thursday is devoted to Brihaspati – the planet Jupiter
It promotes greater learning and prosperity. Prayers must be offered to Brihespeshwar Mahadev, followed by reading or hearing the katha. One must preferably wear yellow clothes and use yellow sandalwood. Food must be eaten once. One must include yellow pulses in the meal. To appease Brihaspati one should wear topaz in gold. When inclined to give charity one should give yellow things like turmeric, salt, yellow clothes, rice, yellow pulses, gold and topaz.
A fast on Friday is devoted to Shukra – the planet Venus
The procedure for this fast is similar to that of Monday. It is preferable that food is eaten once a day. It must include white preparations like kheer (rice porridge) or rabri (milk preparation). To appease Shukra one must wear mani (a gem) in silver. Those inclined to charity must give rice, white clothes, a cow, ghee, diamonds and gold.
A fast on Friday is also devoted to Santoshi Maa
She is the daughter of Sri Ganesh and blesses one with happiness and contentment. Prayers are offered to her followed by katha and arti. Food must be eaten once. This is a strict fast and nothing sour or acidic must be eaten or offered to anyone else. It is customary to fast for 16 Fridays. On the final day, young boys are fed.
A fast on Saturday is devoted to Shani – the planet Saturn
The effect of Shani is harsh and lasts for a long time. Therefore this fast is observed. Shani is fond of all kinds of black things like black clothes, black peas, black sesame, iron and oil. Prayers are offered to Shani followed by the katha and arti. To appease Shani one must use sapphire and iron. When inclined to give charity one should give black things like an iron vessel with oil, an umbrella, a black shoe, black clothes, black sesame and black peas.