Karva Chauth is celebrated with great excitement, joy, and enthusiasm like any other festival in Hindu. When celebrating this festival, no stone is left unturned. On this day, every family comes together as one. On the arrival of the bright moon, women break they are fast together. What we know about Karva Chauth, however, is what we see in Bollywood movies. To learn about the beautiful rituals of Karwa Chauth, scroll down.
Origin and History
It is said that it started when soldiers had to go away to fight against the Mughal invaders at the time of the Mughal invasion. For a whole day without food and water, the wives of these fearless soldiers used to fast and pray for the safety of their husbands on the battlefield.
In addition, behind the roots of this festival is another fascinating story. In ancient times, girls used to get married at a very early age and had to live with their in-laws in other villages. There, she didn’t have someone to chat with or share her thoughts. Therefore, she used to make friends with another woman who, for life, was considered a friend or sister. They have been referred to as ‘god-sisters’ or Dharam-behen. This is when Karwa Chauth, signifying the bond between the god-sisters, was celebrated by these girls.
Rituals Of Karwa Chauth Across Different States Of India
The Karwa Chauth Festival has tremendous importance for married women in India. Karwa Chauth’s way of celebrating, however, differs from one state to another. Let’s take a look at some of the major states and the special way they celebrate the festival.
The Rajasthan women make the Karwas (earthen pots) with mud and fill them with rice and wheat at this festival. They especially embellish themselves in their bridal wear as part of the celebration. Interestingly, it is believed here that the woman who quickly is not only rewarded with her husband’s well-being but also for the next seven births wins the same husband.
One of the major festivals for married women in Punjab is Karwa Chauth. All the markets in Punjab are flooded with different accessories and decorative pieces on this auspicious day, including bangles, beautiful sarees, embroidered suits, and sweet stalls. Besides observing the fasting rite, women often decorate their hands with exquisite mehndi (Hina), decorated particularly by professional artists. Also unmarried female fasts in some parts of Punjab in order to win a loving husband.
3. Uttar Pradesh
Married women in Uttar Pradesh decorate the walls of their homes with sketches of Gauri Ma, the moon, and the sun. They also make the Karwa with clay, and with earthen lamps, they perform the evening pooja. The wives pray to their doorstep before gazing at the sky.
Rituals Of Karwa Chauth
This function does not only begin on the day itself. It all started the day before! The traditional sargi from their in-laws’ home, prepared by the mother-in-law, is received by all newly-married women and brides-to-be. Before starting the fast, the sargi includes earthen pots that contain food to be eaten in the morning. For the remainder of the day, it will give them the power they need.
It is best to eat this food in the morning, before sunrise. It includes fruits, mathri, a salty fried snack, Indian sweets or mithai based on milk, and dry fruits such as Kaju, kismis, and badam.
Baya is a gift or a ticket to the appreciation of mother-in-law for her daughter in law who fast to her son. It typically includes money, clothing, jewelry, cosmetics, sindoor, and sweets. Women dress up in bright clothing, and apply the Mehendi, symbolic of married Indian woman, to our society, after receiving the Baya. If the woman is newly married and this is her first Karva Chauth, gifts are given from the girl’s side to the boy’s side of the family. This may include jewelry, money, clothing, sweets, and more.
In addition, for newlyweds, the first Karva Chauth is the period when the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law build a special bond. In the evening, after the evening puja, some mothers-in-law encourage their daughters-in-law to have tea or milk. A mutual understanding and a mark of respect are thus developed at an early stage.
3. The Puja
In the evening, women assemble at the household of someone who keeps the pooja. The region of the pooja is decorated with a lovely Maa Parvati and Kharia Mitti or Mud idols.
A few hours before the moon rises, the traditional tale of Karva Chauth is told to all the married women. According to legend, many years ago, a young woman named Veeravati broke her fast before spotting the moon, causing her husband to die immediately.
The woman, distraught, prayed to Maa Parvati and begged her to bring her husband back to life. This was achieved only after the woman had fulfilled the seven Karva Chauth religious cycle, after which her husband was returned to life.
After the narration of this tale, a prayer is said for the health of the husband and for marital bliss and harmony. Finally, the women move their thalis around in a circle or in a feris, while they sing their holy hymn.
4. Breaking of the fast
It’s time to break the fast as the moon rises in the sky. Women start lighting diyas and pour water into the Karva that is already on the thali, or container. The women go to the terrace or from where they can see the moon clearly, placed a sieve on this traditional thali.
Next, they see the moon through the sieve. Water is then given to the moon. They then look through the same sieve at their husbands. A prayer is said asking for the long life of the husband and then, by feeding her a morsel of food or by giving her drink a sip of water, the husband breaks his wife’s fast.
A luxurious and tasty meal follows this. Sometimes, husbands often offer presents to their wives.
Karva Chauth is one of those festivals which, by nature, is both selfless and a great joy to celebrate. Isn’t this festival sweet and lovely? Indian society is truly rich and steeped in values and customs.