16 Oct 2016

Karwa Chauth (Karva Chauth Vart 2016)

Karwa Chauth (Karva Chauth 2016) is a special fast which is celebrated by all married women for the prosperity, safety, and longevity of their husbands. Sometimes, unmarried girls also perform this fast for their would-be husband for the safety & longevity of their lives. Karwa Chauth is one day fast celebrated by Hindu & Sikh women joyfully. It is a sacred fast which is performed to strengthen the love bonding in married couples. Karwa Chauth is one of the toughest fast which starts from sunrise to moonrise; toughest because they have to stay without food and water. This fast is celebrated in many states such as Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana & Rajasthan etc. This festival falls on the fourth day of Kartik month of Hindu calendar. It is a govt. holiday for women working in Govt. sector as well as in Private sector.

Karwa Chauth has a significant meaning, Karwa means an earthen pot of water and Chauth means the fourth day of dark- fortnight of the month of Kartik. This fast is one of the most important & toughest fast observed by married Hindu women. During this fast, women pray for the good health & long life of their husbands. On this day, women get up early in the morning & eat sargi, fruits & sweets. Sargi is most important for this fast which is offered by mother-in-law to their daughter-in-law. Sargi is prepared by mother-in-law before sunrise & also served to their daughter –in-law. Sargi contains feniya (a sweet made by using milk & semolina), fruits , sweets & parantha. Married women eat the sargi before sunrise. Mother-in-law also gives gifts to their daughter-in-law. It may be jewellery, suit, saree or whatever she wants. Parents also send gifts to their married daughters. Karwa Chauth lasts from sunrise to moonrise. During this fast, the married women do not even drink water until they worship the moon.

On Karwa Chauth fast married women worship Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati & their sons Kartikeya & Ganesha. Women are well dressed on this day early in the morning. They also do Solah Shringar on this fast. They wear jewellery, saree, suit & lehenga on Karwa Chauth. Married women also apply henna (mehndi) on their hands & feet. Some women also wear their bridal dress on this day. Everyone wants to look special on this day. So every woman starts their shopping well in advance of Karwa Chauth. On this day women love to wear dark yet adorable colors such as red, pink & orange. Women also put on new bangles, mangal sutra, anklets, maang tikka, toe rings, jewellery, apply sindoor for the long life of their husband, nail paint, lipstick, bindi, kajal, mehndi etc.
In the evening all fasting women gather in a group either at home or in the temple for puja. After gathering, they listen to the Karwa Chauth story. Also, sing the Karwa Chauth songs & exchanges their thalis with one another in the circle. After listening story married women gives suhagi (includes bangles, sindoor, kajal, Mehandi, bindi etc.) to their sister-in-laws & their god-sisters. Married women also take blessings from their mother-in-law after performing puja & also gives clothes, suhagi & a pot full of rice to her mother-in-law.

All women wait for the moon eagerly because the fast is incomplete until they worship the moon. When the moon appears in the sky all the fasting women take their puja thalis, which includes clay lamp (Diya), sindoor, rice, flowers, sweets, a karwa (clay pot) full of water & a sieve. Then they worship the moon in their traditional way for the safety & long life of their husbands, give arghaya to the moon (i.e. offer water to the moon) & then women see the moon in the sieve. After worshipping the moon, they see their husband's through the sieve. It is believed that, while married woman sees her husband through the sieve it removes all the bad evil effects from her husband. Also believed that the married couple lives  happy & prosperous married life that lasts for as many pores as there are in the sieve. After married women have worshiped the moon, and seen their husband in the sieve they take the blessings of her husband. After performing all rituals, husband offers the first sip of water to her beloved wife from his hands and also feed her with some sweet from the puja thali. Then the married lady breaks her Karwa Chauth fast. After the end of fast, the women can eat everything of their choice. Many recipes are prepared at home on the occasion of Karwa Chauth such as Dal Makhani, Matar Paneer, Rice, Mix Veg, Chapati, Puri, Rajmah, Raita & Sweet dish.

At last, I would like to say that the Karwa Chauth fast is very sacred fast that strengthen the bond of love of the married couple.

Images sources: Wikipedia