Etymology of Soma Vara
The word ‘Soma Vara’ originates from the Sanskrit word ‘Soma’ meaning Chandra, Hindu God of Moon. Also Lord Shiva is referred as ‘Someshvara’ as he wears the semi-circular shaped moon on his knotted hair.
Myths of Soma Vara Vrata
There is a tale related to Soma Vara Vrata. Long ago, a princess, named Simanthini used to observe the Soma Vara Vrata habitually. Then two young boys deviously simulated as a married couple. The princess worshipped them with true belief. After that the young boys were really converted into male and female couple. Another story is that there was a money lender and his wife, lived a very religious and devoted life. They did not have children and prayed the Lord to bless them with a child. Lord Shiva blessed the couple with a boy child. Sadly, the boy had only 12 years of life about which the father had already known. Moneylender made the boy survive with a highly dedicated and sober life. On his twelfth year, the boy went with his uncle to Kashi for his education.
On the way, they came across the marriage ceremony of the daughter of a big businessman. The groom was blind in one of the eyes. When the bride's family discovered this, they requested the boy to be the groom. After marriage, the boy went to Kashi and completed his education. As his destiny came, one day all of a sudden he died. Lord Shiva wanted to reward the goodness and loyalty of all the people in the merchant's home and so he blessed the boy with the life once again. The boy returned home with the bride he married and all of them lived happily after that. This story also arrives when the discussion of the Soma Vara Vrata come into view.
Rituals of Soma Vara Vrata
The ceremony of Soma Vara Vrata varies in different states of India. There is a certain way of observing the Vrata. The devotees get up early in the morning and meditate. The devotee first takes bath and perform the morning twilight salutation first. Devotees then light the lamp with ghee or oil. Then they decorate the idol or picture with sandal and flowers. Then devotees hymn Lord Shiva's names and offer flowers. Devotees pray to Lord Shiva and also worship the divine couple Parvati and Shiva. The follower of Lord Shiva offer the lord feast but observer himself eats only one time food that day. If one is unable to perform the worship at home then can go to temple to worship Parvati and Shiva. Shiva idol is massaged with Betel leaves and also offered sweet foods like ‘Panchyaamritam’ and other pleasant substances. The food is then shared among all the devotees after the puja. One might keep fast completely according to his/her wish.
In Maharashtra, Gujarat and the northern states of India, the Mondays of the Hindu month of Shravana, is considered for fasting and is known as ‘Shravan Somavara’. In the southern Indian states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, the Mondays falling in the Hindu month of Karthika is held sacred. While in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the Mondays of Karthikai is held auspicious and is observed as ‘Karthikai Somavaram’.
Significance of Soma Vara Vrata
One who observes the Soma Vara Vrata would get to enjoy many earthly pleasures as well as finally would reach the abode of Lord Shiva, Kailasha. Whoever follows the Soma Vara Vrata, get the Lord's blessings and all their wishes are materialized by Lord Shiva.