Karva chauth also known as karaka chaturthi is a one of the most famous north Indian Hindu and Sikh festivals. It is a one day festival where married women fast for the entire day for the longevity, prosperity and wellbeing of their husbands. The festivals fall on the fourth day after the full moon in the month of kartik. Generally this is celebrated nine days before Diwali.
The trem ‘karva’ means earthen pot with a spout and ‘chauth’ means fourth day hence the name karva chauth. On this day the women folk abstain from food and some even water and break their fast only after sighting the moon.
About Karva Chauth
Karva chauth has a rich background and has many stories associated with it. One story is about a woman called karva and her effort to save her husband’s life. Another story which is famous is that of Sathyavan and Savithri. The story says that when Lord Yama came to take Sathyavan’s life, Savithri in order to get her husband’s life back stopped drinking and eating. Finally the lord relented and granted her husband’s life back. Karva chauth also dates back to Mahabharata times and it is believed that Draupadi also performed the karva chauth and helped her husbands overcome their hardships.
But many believe that since karva chauth falls in midst of harvesting summer crops it is a festival to celebrate the season of autumn and is a day to celebrate and meet friends, exchange gifts. But later mythological stories were associated with it giving it a religious aspect otherwise it is more of social celebration.
How Karva Chauth is Celebrated?
The festival is celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm. A few days before the festival the markets are full of mehdis, sweets and bangles etc. On this day women clad in new attire have a meal called sargi which is given by mother-in-law before dawn. After having the sargi, the women observe a fast for the whole day. In the evening, women dress up in special clothes, and accessories like jewellery, bindis and henna and worship Shiva, Parvati, Ganesh, Kartikeya and the moon are worshipped on this day along with the 10 'karwas' filled with sweets. And the elderly woman of the family narrates the legend of Karva Chauth. At night woman wait to get a glimpse of the moon and see both the moon and her husband through a sieve and break their fast after their husbands offer the first morsel. In some places once the moon rises, the women see its reflection in a thali of water and then drink water to break the fast. This is flowed by a sumptuous dinner.
Today this festival is much commercialised and glorified by the bollywood.But the traditional values and soul of the festival remains unchanged it being a day which is dedicated to the special bond of marriage.