On the occasion of KarvaChauth, Hindu wives observe fasting for the well being of their husbands. As per Indian traditions, the husband is considered as the custodian of his wife and he is committed to providing food, clothing, shelter, comfort and dignity to his wife. Hence, the festival is celebrated by Hindu wives who pray for a long life for their husbands.
Festival time(time, tithi etc.)
Usually celebrated in the months of October-November, KarvaChauth is especially popular in the northern parts of India. The festival is celebrated on Kartikki Chouth, which occurs nine days before Diwali.
How is it celebrated
The day before the fast is observed, married women stay at their mother’s place and their mother-in-law sends foodstuff or Sargai to them, to assist them in preparing for the fast. They consume some food before sunrise, so that they are able to positively tackle the effects of fasting. After having their food, they get dressed up in traditional attire and begin their fasting.
For newly married girls
Newly married girls usually wear lehanga and chunni on this occasion. They also adorn themselves with mehendi on their hands and bangles on their arms.
Bayana:The Baya is sent by the mother-in law, to the house of the girl. The Baya consists of big mathris, tenpuas, halwas, cash and clothes. The Baya is sent before the preceding evening. The Baya is returned by the girls after the completion of the manasna.
Preparations Done:The Puja room is usually a big space such as a courtyard or a verandah. A platform is made to seat the deity. In the past, the deity of Gaur Mata was prepared from cow dung, which was about two inches tall and shaped like a human figure. However, nowadays, the deity of Lord Parvati is worshipped in the form of an image or an idol.
Almost an hour before sunrise, all the fast observers gather in the Puja room, after getting dressed up, and place their Bayas atop the Karva (earthen pots). The Karvas are decorated with aipun, roli and kharia. A piece of red thread is tied across the Karva and the cover of the Karva is also decorated.
Thaali:The thaali atop the Karva is stacked with halwas, puas, mathris, cash and clothes. If clothes are placed on the thaali, then the thaali is offered in front of the deity.
Procedure:On the day of KarvaChouth, after completing the formalities throughout the morning, women gather at a temple or open space and listen to the narration of the story of KarvaChouth. Metal urn filled with water, special mud pot, mathri, food, fruits and flowers are offered to the idols of Goddess Parvati and Ambika and the priest. Just before moonrise, the women dress themselves with heavy sarees and other cosmetics and get ready to view the moon. When the moon rises, they view the moon either through the reflection of the moon on a thali of water or through a dupatta or sieve. They pray for the well being, prosperity and longevity of their husband and break the fast by taking food directly from the hand of their husband.
Once, a seven year old young married girl arrived at her home to celebrate KarvaChouth. She had seven married brothers and she wanted to fast along with her seven sisters-in-law on KarvaChouth. Later, her brothers tricked her to break her fast before the occurrence of moonrise. Immediately, her husband died and the enraged girl decided to go on uncertain fasting. On the seventh year, Goddess Parvati appeared before the girl in the form of Gaur Mata and learned about the tricks played upon her by her brothers. Goddess Parvati immediately blessed the little girl and exchanged Karva with her. The girl’s husband immediately came back to life and thus the wish of the girl was fulfilled.
The KarvaChouth is of immense cultural significance in India, especially the northern parts of India. The festival is celebrated by north Indian Hindus and Sikhs alike. On this occasion fathers send gifts to their married daughters as well as the season of harvest is celebrated by the farmers. After performing the fasting, the women exchange their Karvas which bonds them with the neighborhood as well as the society. In the past, the occasion was celebrated to enjoy the autumn season as well as be in the company of friends and family.
The celebration of KarvaChouth reflects the essence of Indian tradition and culture. The occasion portrays the dedication of the Indian women towards their husband and their well being. The effort and dedication showcased by women, helps in further strengthening their relationship and bonding with their husband.