Pradosh Vrat is dedicated to Lord Shiva which falls on the 13th day or Trayodashi of the lunar fortnight. Pradosh occurs during the two different phases of the moon waxing and waning as per the traditional Hindu calendar. A Pradosh vrat falling on a Monday is known as Soma Pradosh or Chandra Pradosh. If it falls on a Tuesday, then it is known as Bhauma Pradosh, and Pradosh occurring on a Saturday is called Shani Pradosh. Among all the Pradosh vrats, the Soma Pradosh and Shani Pradosh are the most significant. On Pradosh day, the fast is observed from sunrise until sunset.
Significance of Pradosh Vrat:
According to the Shiva Puranas, fasting during Pradosh is regarded as highly auspicious as devotees would be blessed with wealth, prosperity, happiness and honour. While the fast is undertaken by all Shiva devotees, women who have been longing for a child specially observe this vrat. Praying to Lord Shiva liberates the devotee from all his previous and present sins and evil deeds.
As per a legend, Lord Shiva is believed to have consumed the Hala-Hala poison during Pradosh. This poison was mixed with the Ocean of Milk. Another myth relates this vrat with Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. On the day of Trayodashi during the evening twilight, the couple is said to be in a propitious and favourable mood. Hence, all prayers and desires demanded by a loyal devotee are easily fulfilled.
Another folk-lore has it that a Brahmin woman came to Sage Shandilya with an orphan boy Dharmagupta. He was a prince, whose father was killed in a battle. They took Pradosh Vrat as per the instruction of Shandilya. After few years, Dharmagupta married a princess. With the help of her father, the Dharmagupta conquered his region back. It shows the importance of Pradosh Vrat as it helps to attain victory.
Offering Bael or Bilva leaves during to Lord Shiva during Pradosh vrat is considered auspicious. Lord Shiva devotees observe the fast on both Pradosha days in a month. Staunch devotees prefer to be on the water. They consume the ‘prasad’ offered in the evening. Such devotees eat cooked food from next day morning. Another method of fasting is by eating fruits and cooked food on the Pradosh day after the evening prayers. The strictness of the Pradosh fasting is decided by the devotee. Some devotees do not fast but worship Lord Shiva during Pradosh or visit temples. Since Monday is dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Pradosha falling on Monday is considered highly auspicious. Pradosha falling on Saturday during the waning phase of the moon is also auspicious.