Karva Chauth

{tab=Karva Chauth History}

History of Karva Chauth

Karvachauth is a major festival of North India. On this day married women observe a day long fast for the well being, prosperity and long life of their husbands. Unmarried girls also observe this fast with the belief that by doing so they will get a loving and caring husband. The festival promotes greater bonding between women and their in laws.

The ritual of Karwa Chauth is quite tough. Women forego the whole day without food and water. Women get up before sunrise and eat “Sargi” – food consisting of Pheni ( made up of milk and semolina ), coconut, sweets and cereals. After sunrise they do not eat and drink anything till they worship moon at night.

Women specially dress up for this festival. They attire in bridal outfit, wear best of make up and apply Henna ( Mehndi ) on their hands and feets. In the evening all the women of locality gather and perform the puja together. Afer puja they offer gifts to their mothers -in-law. At night after offering ark ( water ) to the moon the women break their fast.

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Karva Chauth falls about nine days before Diwali on the Krishna Chaturthi – the fourth day of the waning moon or the dark fortnight – of the month of Ashwin after Sharad Purnima ( some time in October or November ).

History of Karwa Chauth

‘Karva Chauth’ is the festival observed by the married women of our country. It is celebrated for ensuring wedded bliss and wishing long life for their husbands and children. A married woman who observes this vrat or fast is called’ Saubhagyavati’ ( joyous and happy state of wifehood ). It is one of the most famous fasts among the Indian married women.

The fast of Karva Chauth is of particular importance to Hindu women as they believe it ensures the well-being, prosperity and longevity of their husbands. The origin of this festival was based on a very noble idea. Though this idea has lost its true sense as today the whole outlook of this festival has changed. This Hindu festival has a cultural and social significance. It is mostly celebrated in the northern part of India with great enthusiasm. On this day woman apply mehendi ( henna ) on their hands and worships the moon.

The festival of Karva Chauth has an extraordinary observance rate among married Hindu women in the northern part of India in places like Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat. On this day married women keep a fast for the well-being and long life of their husbands. The celebration of Karva Chauth varies from region to region depending on the culture and traditions of that state.

Karva Chauth is observed on the fourth day of the dark fortnight of Ashwin, which is also called Kartik according to some calendars. There are various traditions and rituals associated with the celebration of Karva Chauth. The important rituals involving the festival include worshipping ‘karvas’ spherical clay pots with symbols for married women and sweets.

They are later exchanged with other married women. People observe fasts all days long, then worship the ‘karva’ and the elderly woman of the family narrates the legend of Karva Chauth ( the narration of Vrata Katha ). Then they wait for the moon to rise and as soon as the moon is sighted, prayers are offered to the moon. The fasting women first observe the moon through a sieve and then break their fast. The first sip of water and the first bite of food are offered by the husband. Later on sumptuous dinner is served as a part of the celebration.

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{tab=Karva Chauth Legend}

Legend of Karva Chauth

Long time ago, there lived a beautiful princess by the name of Veeravati. When she was of the marriageable age, Veeravati was married to a king. On the occasion of the first Karwa Chauth after her marriage, she went to her parents’ house.

After sunrise, she observed a strict fast. However, the queen was too delicate and couldn’t stand the rigors of fasting. Seeing her plight, her seven brothers decided to end her fast by deceiving her. They made a fire at the nearby hill and asked their sister to see the glow. They assured her that it was the moonlight and trusting her brothers, Veeravati broke her fast.

However, at the same time, she received the news that her husband, the king, was dead. The queen was heartbroken and rushed to her husband’s palace. On the way, she met Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Parvati informed Veeravati that the king had died because the queen had broken her fast by watching a false moon. However, when the queen asked her for forgiveness, Parvati granted her the boon that the king would be revived but would be ill.

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When Veeravati reached the palace, she found the king lying unconscious with hundreds of needles inserted in his body. Each day, she managed to remove one needle from the king’s body. Next year, on the day of Karva Chauth, only one needle remained embedded in the body of the unconscious king.

Veeravati observed a strict fast that day and when she went to the market to buy the karva for the puja , her maid removed the remaining needle from the king’s body. The king regained consciousness, and mistook the maid for his queen. When Veeravati returned to the palace, she was made to serve as a maid.

However, Veeravati was true to her faith and religiously observed the ritual of Karva Chauth. Once when the king was going to some other kingdom, he asked Veeravati (now maid) if she wanted anything. Veeravati asked for a pair of identical dolls. The king obliged and Veeravati singing a song ” Roli ki Goli ho gayi… Goli ki Roli ho gayi ” ( the queen has turned into a maid and the maid has turned into a queen ).

On being asked by the king as to why did she keep repeating that song, Veeravati narrated the entire story. The king repented and restored the queen to her royal status. It was only the queen’s devotion and her faith that won her husband’s affection and the blessings of Goddess Parvati.

The Legend Of Mahabharata

The belief in this fast and its associated rituals goes back to the times of Mahabharata. Draupadi, too, is said to have observed this fast. Once Arjun went to the Nilgiris for penance and the rest of the Pandavas faced many problems in his absence. Draupadi, invoked Lord Krishna and asked for help. Lord Krishna advised her to observe the fast of Karva Chauth. Draupadi followed the instructions and observed the fast with all its rituals. Consequently, the Pandavas were able to overcome their problems.

The Story Of Satyavan and Savitri

There is the story of the Satyavan and Savitri. When Yamraj – the Lord of the death – came to take Satyavan’s soul, Savitri begged him to grant life to Satyavan. When Yamraj refused, she stopped eating and drinking and Yamraj finally relented. He granted life to Satyavan

The Legend Of Karva

According to another legend, a woman named Karva was deeply devoted to her husband. One day while bathing, her husband was caught by a crocodile. Karva came running and tied the crocodile with a cotton yarn. She then went to Yamraj and appealed him to send the offending crocodile to hell. When Yamraj refused, Karva threatened to curse him. Afraid of the power of a devoted wife, Yamraj readily accepted and sent the crocodile to hell, and blessed Karva’s husband with long life.

Origin of Karva Chauth

Karva Chauth originated as a social and seasonal festival, but somewhere down the line the festival deviated from its original form. The word Karva Chauth, is composed of Karva – meaning a clay pot – and Chauth ( from char meaning four ) corresponding to the fourth day after the Full Moon in Kartik month ( of Hindu calendar ) following the Autumnal Equinox.

This time of the year is just after the harvest of Kharif ( monsoon ) crops and people are usually in a festive mood. They like to remember and meet their relatives and friends, and exchange gifts with them. Diwali is a similar seasonal festival – in addition to having religious significance – that is nine days after Karva Chauth.

The idea behind Karwa Chauth is very sweet and noble. In olden days girls were married at a very early age and used to go and live with their in-laws in other ( often very remote ) villages. Everyone would be a stranger there for the new bride. If she had any problems with her husband or in-laws, she would have no one to talk to or seek support from. Modes of communication / transport were not very developed and hence it was not easy for her to approach her parents and relatives.

Thus the custom started that, at the time of marriage, when bride would reach her in-laws, she would befriend another woman ( of similar age ) there who would be her friend ( kangan-saheli ) or sister ( dharam-behn ) for life. It would be like god-friends or god-sisters. Their friendship would be sanctified through a small Hindu ceremony right during the marriage.

Once the bride and this woman had become god-friends or god-sisters, they would remain so throughout their lives.. They would also treat each other like real sisters. During any difficulty later in life, involving even the husband or in-laws, these women would be able to confidently talk or seek help from each other.

Thus Karva Chauth started as a festival to celebrate this friendship ( relationship ) between the once-brides and their god-friends ( god – sisters ). Praying and fasting for the sake of husband came later and is secondary. It was probably added, along with other mythical tales, to enhance the festival. In any case, husband would always be associated with this festival, because the day on which this holy friendship between two god-sisters started was essentially the day of bride’s marriage to him. Thus praying and fasting for husband by his wife during a celebration of her relationship with the god-friend would be quite logical.

Karwa Chauth Recipes

Here we present you a list of Karwa Chaut Recipes

  • Dum Aloo ( Potato )
  • Aloo Tikki
  • Badam Puri
  • Broken Wheat Kheer

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