India is a land of festivals and each festival has its unique significances and customs associated with it. These festivals reflect the rich cultural heritage of India. The festivals bring celebrations, joy and happiness in a tedious lifestyle and chance to meet and greet our loved ones.
Karwa Chauth is a festival where all married Hindu women keep fast for their husband's long life with pure love. Women wait for this festival throughout the year because on this auspicious day full glory of womanhood is demonstrated. Women dress like a bride and pray and fast for their husband's wellbeing for entire life. One can see the charm of this festival in Hindi TV serials also.
Karwa Chauth is celebrated four days after the full moon or Poornima in the month of Kartika based on Hindu Calendar. Like many other Hindu festivals, it is based on astronomical positions.
It is celebrated in North India in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and so on.
The Stories Behind Karwa Chauth Celebration
The first story comes from Mahabharata. Arjuna went to Nilgiris for self-improvement and behind his back Pandavas faced troubles. So, Shri Krishna suggested Draupadi fast for her five husbands' good fortune.
The main story is of Karwa, a woman whose husband was attacked by a crocodile and was dwelling in the mouth of death. She turned over death-summon of Yamraj, the Lord of Death, to return her husband's life with her devotion and hard fasting.
Another story is that of Savitri and Satyavan which is similar to the story of taking Savitri taking Satyavan's life back from Yamraj.
Karwa Chauth Rituals
Rituals can be different from family to family and place to place but the idea behind Karwa Chauth is same which is celebration and love. On this blessed day, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are worshipped. Traditionally, Goddess Chauth Mata is also worshipped by women.
The day starts from the sunrise when the wife eats Sargi gifted from Mother-in-law as gratitude and daughter-in-law in return, gives greetings and gifts in return. This is meal is the basis of whole day Nirjal Fast.
A delicious feast is prepared to comprise homemade sweets, Fenia, Mathis, kheer which is to be eaten after the fast completes.
By the evening it is the time of doing Prayers and listening stories mentioned above which depict the power of the love of a wife for her husband. Prayers are then done in groups, where all the women rotate their thali and ask for each other's blessings for their fast.
Women wait for moonrise for the whole day. A beautiful Pooja thali is decorated for evening covered with a sparkling cloth and a small pitcher is used for the Pooja which is used for offering Arghya to the moon.
A Diya is lit for the moon and a Channi is used to see the moon and husband. Fast is completed by the husband by making wife drink water and eats pooja Mathri and or other sweets.
In contemporary times many men have started keeping the Karwa Chauth's fast to participate in the ritual. This way they express their love for beloved wives. This also set an example of equality in the most traditional way.
Karwa Chauth is the exemplar of the power of a wife's devotion to the marital relationship. The festival is based on a Nirjal fast that deepens the bond between husband and wife. It strengthens the two-wheeled cart call marriage to be stable for the long journey called life.