What is Karva Chauth?
Karva Chauth is celebrated by married women by observing a fast for the well-being of their husband. It typically falls on the fourth day after Full Moon or Purnima in the Kartik month as per Hindu calendar. This festival is especially popular in the northern states of India and ladies from the North majorly celebrate it. They pray for their husband’s long life and good health on this special day.
Why is it celebrated?
Karva Chauth is a traditional festival where women worship Chandra (the Moon Goddess) for longevity of their husband. There are different stories associate with Karva Chauth which highlight its significance. One of the unpopular story is from Mahabharata. While Arjuna went to the Nilgiri Mountains for self- penalty, the Pandava brothers were having a difficult time. Draupadi, the wife of Pandavas started praying to Lord Krishna and sought help. Lord Krishna recited the story of Goddess Parvati where She observed the Karva Chauth Vrat for resolving problems. Further, Draupadi began the rituals of Karva Chauth and the Pandavas found ways to face the challenging situations.
There is one more story related to Karva Chauth that narrates the importance of observing the fast strictly. Queen Veeravati was the most loved and the only sister of seven brothers. Once when she was at her maiden home, she observed a fast beginning from sunrise. She was going to break the fast right after seeing the Moon. By the time the Moon could appear in the sky, she was starving and feeling istanbul escort thirsty. Her brothers couldn’t watch her suffering with hunger. They placed a mirror in the Peepal tree nearby and tricked her saying that the Moon had appeared. As soon as she broke her fast after seeing the fake Moon, the news of her husband’s death came. She only kept on crying until a Goddess appeared in front of her and told the truth about the fake Moon created by her brothers. Veeravati continued fasting rigorously and Lord Yama was appeased by this. He revived Veeravati’s husband and that is how the Karva Chauth Vrat for husband’s long life was observed by women.
As Karva Chauth is famous and widely celebrated in North and North western region of India, there is a reason behind it. A large number of males from North part enter the army or defense field and their wives observe the Karva Chauth Vrat for their safety and long life. Also, during Karva Chauth, Rabi season begins which is why the Karva pot is fill with wheat grains. It signifies abundance, prosperity and growth in the Rabi season.
In the old times, girls used to get married in their teens and could hardly enjoy their childhood. They were also not allow to visit their parent’s home that often afterwards. Since they were away from their family, they started celebrating Karva Chauth with other ladies in the neighborhood. They recited the Vrat Katha and performed the Karva Chauth Puja in groups together.
Although they observed a fast throughout the entire day, their spirit was high and they celebrated the festival with great joy. Moving ahead, this ritual is follow till present by women. The ladies gather together at one of their groupmate’s house or in a nearby temple and narrate the Vrat Katha as well as exchange the Karva pots.
On Karva Chauth, the lady who is observing fast should get up before sunrise and have Sargi (breakfast items given by mother -in- law). After the Sargi hours, consuming water or food is prohibit. In the evening, listen to the Vrat Katha recited by an elder female in the family like elder sister- in- law or mother- in- law. While listening to the Vrat story / Katha, set up an altar (Chowki) and keep a pot filled with water on it. Alongside, keep a Karva (clay pot) with roli, wheat and rice grains inside. Keep the Karva pot covered with a lid. Apart from this, keep 13 Karva pots with roli applied on it. Once the Katha recitation is complete, offer one Karva to mother- in- law by touching her feet. Exchange the rest of the Karva pots with other married women. Keep aside some water from the pot and 13 grains of wheat for offering to the Moon at night. As soon as the moon appears in night, make these offerings.
How to celebrate ?
In traditional dress, women wear red clothing (sarees or salwar suits). It is necessary to eat the breakfast (Sargi) sent by mother-in-law before sunrise. The fasting period begins from then and goes on until the moonrise.
It is customary to perform a puja before the moon sighting for the husband’s long life and marital bliss. The woman who observes fast should look at the moon through a sieve and then move the sieve towards her husband’s face. After this, the husband gives her some water and a bite of any sweet delicacy to break the fast. Some ladies celebrate the festival at their own home while some celebrate it in groups.
As an anticipation of this strict ritual followed by wives, some husbands even observe the Karva Chauth Vrat along with their wives. It is a sweet gesture by husbands for their lovable wives.
Karva Chauth is a day to rejoice love, come together and pray for a happily married life.