Karwa Chauth festival is celebrated mostly by the Hindu and Punjabi
married women (suhagins) in the Northern and Western states of India
like Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Gujarat and some parts of Uttar Pradesh.
Karwa Chauth Festival is the most significant occasion that strengthens
the sacred marital bond between husband and wife.
In India marriage is considered the most sacred bond of a life time.
Therefore, Karwa Chauth festival is celebrated with so much of joy and
enthusiasm among the married women. On this day married women dress up
in their best clothings and decorate with shimmering jewelry and apply
heena on their hands. Without eating or drinking anything married women
ends their day long fast after watching the moon in night and having
food from their husbands.
Karva Chauth is a very traditional festival celebrated in the form of
fasting by married women. On this day women observe a day long fast
without having food or water and pray for the prosperity and longevity
of their husbands. The fasting ritual of Karva Chauth signifies utmost
love and devotion of a wife to her husband.
When is Karwa Chauth in 2008
The term ‘Karwa’ means an earthen clay pot and ‘Chauth’ means fourth
day. Karwa Chauth is celebrated on the fourth day after full moon in the
month of Kartik that usually comes in the month of October-November.
This festival normally comes 09 days before Diwali.
In year 2008 Karwa Chauth festival will be celebrated on Friday, 17th
Celebrations of Karwa Chauth
auspicious occasion of Karva Chauth festival is celebrated by married
women of North India with complete dedication and so much fanfare in the
form of fasting from sunrise to moon rise without eating a bit or
drinking a drop. They observe the most difficult fast for the long life
and prosperity of their husbands.
On the festive day married women wears special clothes usually red or
pink saree/ suit, adorn themselves with best jewelry, colorful bangles,
bindi and vermilion on the forehead and apply design patterns of heena (Mehendi)
on both hands. Then they worship Shiva, Parvati,Ganesha and Kartikeya
and a Kalash or Karwa (earthen pot made of clay) filled with sweets. In
some communities women begin their fast by consuming food called ‘Sargi’
given by their mother-in-law to eat before sunrise. In the evening women
receives ‘Baya’ or a basket containing sweets, fruits and saree meant
for mother-in-laws. Then women from neighbourhood assembles to worship
Goddess Gauri and an elderly woman of family narrates the story of Karwa
Chauth. After that the rising of the moon is awaited and as it happens,
women worship the it and see the moon and their husband through sieve.
Then they receive a bit of food from their husbands and ends the day
Significance of Karwa Chauth Festival
The festival of Karwa Chauth is observed with a fasting tradition by the
married women. So unique in nature women keeps the fast to pray for the
welfare and long life of their husbands. Karwa Chauth festival brings
married women more closer to their Mother-in-laws. Like other festivals,
Karwa Chauth is also marked by gatherings by friends and relatives,
preparing delicious food, exchanging of gifts and well wishes. All the
decorations, jewelry, heena and joyous atmosphere signifies the splendor
and happiness of a married life.
Unlike from past the celebrations of Karwa Chauth festival is changing
with the times. The beauty parlours, jewelry shops, and restaurants have
made this festive occasion a full-fledged commercial activity. Unmarried
girls have also started to observe the fast for getting their dream
husband. Photographs and phone calls are doing away the need to wait
till the moon rise to end the fast. This shows the changing and
glorifying face of Karwa Chauth festival.
Legends of Karva Chauth
As per a legend in the Mahabharata, once Arjun had gone for worship to
the Nilgiri Hills. Draupadi was struck with fear believing that she was
alone in the forest with no one to protect her. She invoked Lord Krishna
who appeared before her. On hearing her predicament Lord Krishna cited
an example of Goddess Parvati. Parvati in a similar situation asked Lord
Shiva's help. Lord Shiva explained to her that to ward off such
apprehensions, a woman could observe a fast on Kartik Krishna Chaturthi
as a remedy.
There is also the story of the Satyavan and Savitri. Savitri with her
unparalleled love for her husband averted his untimely death. When Lord
Yama, came to procure Satyavan's soul, Savitri begged him to grant him
life. When he refused, she stopped eating and drinking and Yamraj
finally relented. He granted her, her husband's life.
FESTIVAL OF KARWA CHAUTH
Karva Chauth is a very significant festival for the women of North
Indian. Traditionally the Indian woman was expected to uphold family
honour and repute. And in order to do that, she was compared to myriad
goddesses and heroines in Hindu mythology whose personal and spiritual
achievements thus set the way of life for every Indian woman who, in
turn, was expected to emulate them. As a child she submitted to the
dictates of the paterfamilias – the father, and after marriage to those
of the husband. Her failure to do so supposedly brought doom and
dishonor upon the concerned families and their genealogical
The notion of female chastity, respectability, tolerance and demureness
slowly but surely seeped into every layer of the Hindu society and
literature, and great care was taken to glorify the woman, while the
reigns of social control were firmly held by the mikado of morality –
the male. In such a social construct, the woman’s identity hinged first
on that of her father, and later and more importantly on that of her
husband. Therefore, in certain pockets of India, a widow was expected to
immolate herself on the funeral pyre of her departed husband – an act
hailed by many that guaranteed her the status of an ‘exalted woman’, a
devi (roughly translated as a demigoddess). Hence, not only was her
status, but even the mere survival of the woman was dependant on that of
the man. The corollary was that the woman did everything within her
means to ensure the well being of her patiparmeshwar, or ‘husbandalmighty’.
Today, however, the festival of Karva Chauth is not only a day when
women pray to God for the long and prosperous lives of their husbands,
but is also symbolic of their unflagging loyalty towards their spouses.
The festival is celebrated nine days before Diwali, or the festival of
lights, on the fourth day of the waning moon in the Hindu month of
Kartik, around October-November. Married women, old and young, begin
their fast on the day of Karva Chauth well before sunrise (around 4
a.m.), and eventually partake of food and water only after spotting the
moon, which generally rises at about 8.30 p.m. But this is not to say
that it is a solemn day solely symbolic of privation, as a good measure
of festivity, rituals and merriment complement its more serious
implications. In fact many women do not adhere very strictly to the
guidelines laid down for the fast, and while they choose to abstain from
food, they drink water, tea and coffee.
Karwa Chauth 2009
In the year 2009, Karwa chauth falls on the October 8th.