In our culture, the Karwa Chauth is an important festival for all married women. From sunrise till moonrise, she keeps a fast for the safety of her husband. Keeping a fast without drinking water and eating any food all through the day seems to be a difficult one but the doting wives perform all these with much love and respect in their head and heart for their husbands. Karwa Chauth festival is very happily celebrated every year by the women by keeping whole day fast in the Krishna Paksha at Chaturthi in the month of Kartik. It is being celebrated in almost all the states of India on the same date. It falls every year in the month of October or November on the fourth day of the full moon means Purnima according to the Hindu calendar.
Karwa Chauth Fast
The festival of Chaitra Navratri begins on the first day of Hindu Luni-Solar month of Chaitra. Being celebrated in the spring season, it is also called “Vasanta Navratri”. Chaitra or Vasant Navratri is celebrated in summer solstice and it also marks the beginning of summer season. The first day of Chaitra Navratri is called “Pratipada” and the last and ninth day is called “Navami”. The last day also corresponds to the 9th day of Shukla Paksha (fortnight) in the Hindu calendar month of Chaitra. Chaitra is also the first month in Hindu calendar; hence the festival is called Chaitra Navratri.
Karwa Chauth Vrat Vidhi
Karwa Chauth vrat is also known as the Karak Chaturthi vrat which is most important for married women especially in the regions of Panjab, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and UP. It falls on the fourth day in the Krishna Paksha of Kartik month. During this fast, women worship Goddess Parvati and God Ganesha and Moon. It is a fast without water means “Nirjala Vrat” however some women (having pregnancy or health problems) can keep this fast by having milk, fruit, metal, khoya, etc. This vrat needs heartily dedication, trust and confidence towards God including complete pooja process. Rice kheer, Pua, dahibada, chana dal puri, gur halwa, etc are prepared to offer to the God and Goddess. Puja should be done by facing mouth towards East direction and God Goddess statue face towards West direction. It is considered that giving Dan of the Karak at this day brings lots of comfort, safety, long life of husband, Lakshmi and son to the home as well as other willing of the worshiper. It is also considered that the purpose of this fast only completes when a woman gives Dan of Karak and Arghya to the moon.
Karwa Chauth Rituals
As Karva Chauth celebration date comes near, married women become so happy and starts the preparation of celebration few days before in advance. They eagerly wait for this date with lots of courage and happiness. This festival is a lot more than the festival of Diwali for them. They buy everything new like cosmetics (also called shringar ka saman), traditional adornments, jewelleries, saree, sandle, earrings, bangles, neckless, nail polish, bindi, puja items, Karva lamps, henna, matthi, puja thali, etc from the local bazaar. Few days before the celebration, market gives a festive look as shopkeepers starts decorating their shops to sell more goods of puja or decoration.In the evening, they take bath, get prepared in full make-up and well dressed and get together with the community women to participate in the ceremony. They do puja with lots of preparations, hear Karwa Chauth Katha, sing songs, etc. The women, who kept fast, sit in the circle by having puja thali depending on their culture and tradition. In UP and Rajasthan, one of them (mostly an eldest woman or a priest) narrates a story of Karva Chauth Vrat (Gauri, Ganesh and Shankar), and then they sing Karva Chauth puja song by performing feris (means passing their thalis to one another in the circle) seven times. There are some restrictions which should be followed by the women having fast such as weaving cloths, pleading someone, please a person, awakening someone sleeping (suthra jagayeen naa).
Modern Culture And Tradition Of Karwa Chauth
At the Karva Chauth, everyone like children and husband including especially fasting woman gets well dressed in new clothes and celebrate together. It has become a famous family observance and everyone enjoy till moonrise. Some couples with their children go outside in the restaurant and hotels to have delicious dinner instead of eating at home after the moonrise ceremony in order to get change something in their daily routine of a busy life. Husbands are expected a lot to take off their fasting wives for the whole day. It is being criticized by someone however some people have called this as a festival of empowering the women because at Karva Chauth woman generally quit their housework completely for the whole day and live life away from the daily hectic life. They feel relief and get gifts from their husbands which make them happy emotionally, physically and intellectually. It is considered that household works and all family member’s responsibilities are the greatest barriers to the woman empowerment. However, the concept of fasting is highly opposed by the Sikh doctrine as they think that fasting has no any spiritual or religious benefits, it can only be kept for the health reasons.
Moon Rise Ceremony
Women start preparing their pooja thalis for the moon rise ceremony. Pooja thali contains ghee diya, rice grains, water-filled pot, match box, sweets, a glass of water and a chalani. Once the moon rises in the sky, women come out of their homes to see the moon. First of all, they perform Arghya to the moon, through rice grains towards the moon and see the moon from chalani by having ghee diya under it.
They pray to the moon for the prosperity, safety and long life of their husbands. After completing the moon ceremony, they touch the feet of their husbands, mothers-in-law and other elders of the family to get blessings for being “Sada Suhagan” and happiful life. Somewhere there is a ritual of seeing only moon reflection from the thali having water instead of directly seeing the moon. After touching feet, husbands let them eat some sweets and drink water from own hand to their wives.
Karwa Chauth Gifts
Lots of Karwa Chauth gifts are given to the women who keep fast especially women at their first Karwa Chauth Vrat by their husbands, mother, mother-in-law and other family members, relatives, and friends. It is considered that Karwa Chauth is very tough fast as one has to spend a whole day without water and food. It is the golden chance for every married woman to keep fast for their husbands and get some beautiful and expensive gifts like jewellery, bangles, sarees, lehnga, frock suit, new clothes, and sweets including other traditional gifts. Woman gets a lot of love and affection including with the memorable gifts which makes her happy as well as strengthen her relationship with husband.