Karwa Chauth Ready!
Karwa Chauth Preparation
It is that Day of the year when married Hindu women in Northern India dress up in red, gold or maroon. They observe fasts and pray for a happy married life and also for the long life of their husbands.
Celebrated nine days before Diwali, Karwa Chauth is an auspicious festival celebrated on the fourth day of the waning moon in the Hindu month of Kartik which falls in October. ‘Karwa’ means a small earthern pot of water and ‘chauth’ means ‘fourth’ in Hindi. It refers to the fact that the festival falls on the fourth day of the dark-fortnight, or ‘Krishna Paksh,’ which is the month of Kartik.
Historically, Karva Chauth was celebrated as a prayer for the long life of soldiers in the war, and by extension today refers to the safety and longevity of a married husband.
Pre-celebrations of this festival include applying ‘mehndi’ on their hands. A few days before Karwa Chauth, married women buy new ‘karwas’ and paint them with lovely designs. They put bangles, ribbons, sweets, make-up items and clothes inside it.
On the day of Karwa Chauth, they visit each other and exchange these ‘karwas’. Daughters-in-law purchase new clothes for their mothers-in-law and mothers-in-law present them with red sindoor, new bangles and make-up kits in exchange, wishing them a long and happy married life.
On the Day of Karwa Chauth
The married women wake up before sunrise on the day to eat and drink.
If you’ve seen the film Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, you will relate to the concept of Sargi.
A tradition observed largely by Punjabis, it is a sort of food that a mother-in-law lovingly assembled for her daughter-in-law. It includes foods that one is supposed to eat early morning before sunrise on Karva Chauth Festival.
They are supposed to enjoy these treats before sunrise and have lots of water as you can not have any food or even water until the moon-rise.
The married women decorate their ‘puja thali’ for the evening puja.
The evening puja is the most important ritual of Karwa Chauth. All the married women gather before sunset and sit in a large circle surrounding an idol of Goddess Gauri. They sing the Karwa Chauth song and pass their ‘puja thalis’ around while listening to the Karwa Chauth story.
After the Karwa Chauth puja is over, the women wait for the moon to rise so that they can end their fasts. Once the moon is visible, depending on the region and community, it is customary for a fasting woman, to view the moon or its reflection in a vessel filled with water, through a sieve, or through the cloth of a dupatta. They offer rice and water to the moon, praying and breaking their fast by drinking water to secure its blessings. In some regions, the woman says a brief prayer asking for her husband’s life. Once the fast is broken, they gorge on the ‘sargi’ to celebrate.