Karwa Chauth is a full-fledged Indian festival that is celebrated with full rituals and customs even in modern times. It is celebrated widely in Jaipur as well. The popularity of this age-old festival of Karwa Chauth is rising every passing year. Even in today’s fast life, modern Indian women have maintained their faith in ancient Indian scriptures and traditions.
This traditional festival “Karwa Chauth” is celebrated all over India by married Hindu women. In Indian tradition, marriage is considered the most sacred bond of a lifetime. This festival is one of the most significant occasions that strengthen the sacred marital bond between husband and wife. In other words, Karva Chauth Fast is a way for married women express love for their husbands. It’s an auspicious day for married couples to express love and re-affirm marital vows.
Celebrating Karwa Chauth, married women observe a day-long fast for the long life of their husbands to attain marital bliss. They undertake this rigorous fast by carrying out all the prescribed rituals with full devotion and enthusiasm.
When is Karwa Chauth Celebrated?
Karwa means an “earthen pot” which is symbolic of good fortune and Chauth means ‘the fourth day’. The festival of Karwa Chauth is celebrated on the fourth day (Chauth) of the dark fortnight of the auspicious Hindu month of Kartik. According to the English calendar, the Kartik month occurs in October or November. To be precise, the day of Karwa Chauth comes about nine days before the festival of Diwali.
History of Karwa Chauth
There are a popular saga behind the celebration of this festivals.
The widely known story narrates that, once Queen Veeravati was made to break her fast by looking at the false moon shown by her seven loving brothers who could not watch their dearest sister remain hungry for so long. But as soon as Veeravati had dinner, her husband died. Veeravati rushed to her husband’s palace after receiving the news. On her way, Goddess Parvati explained to Veeravati that her husband died because she did not observe the fast properly. Veeravati begged forgiveness and on Parvati Ma’s advice, completed the rigorous Karwa Chauth Fast under strict conditions. Pleased with the queen’s devotion, Goddess Parvati revived her husband’s life.
Preparations for Karwa Chauth
Karwa Chauth is celebrated as a grand festival and extensive preparations are made for this auspicious occasion. Married women dress up in their best clothing, they usually wear red or pink attire. Women wear new sarees for the big day. They adorn themselves with jewelry, colorful glass bangles, bindi and apply intricate Mehendi designs on both palms. Dressing up as a bride is the prime tradition of Karwa Chauth.
The Rituals of Karwa Chauth
Karwa Chauth rituals begin with the dawn. Married women wake up early before sunrise. Women in the family gather together and eat food items collectively called ‘sargi‘. Traditionally, the sargi is given to the woman by her mother-in-law. The sargi contains food, fruits, and sweets. After having the sargi, women keep the fast right from sunrise till to the moonrise and do not consume even a bit of food or a drop of water. Interestingly, many loving husbands too keep the fast for the sake of their wives. Though there is no such tradition, they do so out of love for their wives. The fast is broken only after moonrise.
Karwa Chauth Puja is carried out during the afternoon. A group of brightly dressed women gathers to carry out the process. A Puja platform is prepared and beautifully decorated. On this platfrom, the image of Gauri Mata or Goddess Parvati is placed. They also place seven pieces of pua, a karva or a pitcher full of water and adorned it with aepun and roli in front of her. Women sit around this image with their Bayas (a basket containing sweets, mathadi, fruits, and a sari) meant for their mothers-in-law. The married woman receives the baya from their mother) forming a circle and worship Goddess Gauri by applying the roli (a red thread is tied around the karva) and teeka to the Goddess. The same procedure is repeated with aepun and roli.
Lastly, rice and water are sprinkled on the image and they seek blessings for long and blissful married life. An elderly woman narrates the story of Karwa Chauth fast and women rotate their Thalis with Baya from one to another while chanting the prayers.
Breaking the fast with Moon-rise
After the puja gets over there begins a desperate wait for the moonrise. The most colorful scene of the festival can be seen on the eve of Karwa Chauth when the moon rises. Women go to the terrace or open area with a thali containing a small pitcher of water, a piece of mithai and Diya. Women offer Argya to the moon using the Karwa. They take a glance at the moon through a sieve and then look at their husbands the same way. After offering worship to the Moon, women consume water from their husband’s hands and break their fast with a piece of sweet.
This is followed by a grand feast. After remaining hungry for an entire day, they break their day-long fast after watching the moon at night and having food from their husband. Nowadays, couples prefer to go out for a lavish dinner in restaurants. A heavy rush can be seen in restaurants on the this festive night.
After performing all the rituals, women present “Baya” to their mother-in-law. This baya is the same which is rotated in the thali during the puja. Women also receive gifts from their husbands. Karwa Chauth Gifts is a way, husbands convey their love and care for her. This shows the glorifying face of this auspicious festival.
This Festival portrays the real picture of married women with auspicious aura and the deep respect they have for their husbands. With so many rituals, fun and feasting added to it, there could not be a better fasting occasion than this one.
So Jaipurites, get ready to celebrate Karwa Chauth with full joy and strengthen your love.