Karva Chauth in 2014 is on Saturday, October 11. It is widely celebrated in Northern and Western parts of India, especially in Punjab, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat. Karva Chauth is celebrated every year on the fourth day of Hindu month Kartik. It is the fourth day after the full Moon day in the Hindu month of Kartik i.e. 9 days before the grand festival of Diwali.
Karwa Chauth is a fast observed by a woman for the long life of her husband. Karva Chauth is a very important festival for a married Hindu woman. On this day, a married woman observes fast for the long-life, happiness and goodwill of her husband. Women, who are engaged and will soon marry, also observe this fast with great enthusiasm.
Celebrating Karva Chauth
Its a good idea to understand about this festival in detail while celebrating Karva Chauth in 2014. This name includes the word Karva. Karwa means a small earthen pot or an earthen oil lamp or Diya. It plays a very important role in the rituals. Married women, the soon- to- be -married women and also those women, who want a husband of their choice, observe fast on this day. This is a strict and a very tough fast. Women do not even drink water during the observance of this fast. Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati and their son Kartikeya are being worshipped on this day. Some major rituals performed on this day are as follows:
- This festival is primarily based on the relation of marriage and in Indian context, marriage has some special symbols associated with it. For example, for a married woman - Sindoor (vermillion), Mangalsutra, Bindi etc, plays a very important role. So, people start buying this Shringaar Ka Samaan (the make-up accessories) few days before Karwa Chauth. They also buy new traditional clothes, a suit or a saree, mostly in red colour, as red defines marriage and women also buy jewelry for this day.
- Applying Mehndi (Henna tattoo) is one of the very important rituals performed on this day.
- Early on this day, women wake up and have Sargi before sunrise. Sargi is an important pre dawn meal taken by women aspiring to observe fast on Karwa Chauth. Sargi is given to the woman observing fast by her mother-in-law.
- Then, women get ready and apply cosmetics, especially the ones that resembles that they are married, for example - Sindoor, Bindi and many more.
- Then, women observe fast for the whole day and eat nothing. They also dont drink water.
- In the evening, all the women observing fast, say in a given community or society, come together and an all-women ceremony is performed. Women sit in a circle and Karwa Chauth stories are narrated. Then women sing Karwa Chauth songs and pass the Karwa-Chauth thalis amongst themselves.
- After that, as the moon appears in the sky at night, women, with their husbands by their side, look at the moon through a net, offer water and prayers to the Moon to seek blessings. Then, women look at their husbands, through the same net and the husband breaks her fast by offering food and water.
Stories related to Karva Chauth
While celebrating Karva Chauth in 2014, stories related to this festival is going to be recited like every year. Every festival or every ritual has some or the other story related to it. One of the very popular legends associated with Karwa Chauth is the following:
Story of Karwa Karwa was a Pati-Vrata woman. Pati-vrata word is associated with a woman, who completely devotes her life to the well-being and happiness of her husband. Karwa being one such woman attained a spiritual power, when she saved her husbands life from the attack of a crocodile. Once, her husband was bathing in a river, when suddenly a crocodile came and attacked him. But, Karwa leaped at the crocodile with the help of a cotton yarn and asked the god of death- Yama, to send that crocodile to hell. On his refusal, Karwa was on the verge of cursing him, but seeing this, Yama changed his decision and sent crocodile, as per the wish of Karwa, to hell. He also blessed Karwas husband with longevity, only on seeing the unconditional and eternal love and dedication of Karwa toward her husband. After that, the two lived happily together for many years and women after hearing this story, started to observe this fast.
Every woman loves her husband and wants a long life filled with happiness and prosperity for him. So, they dont want to leave any stone unturned to make it possible. They do whatever is in their hands for the longevity and wellness of their husbands. Karwa Chauth is one such attempt. To stay a whole day without food and water is not so easy. Now-a-days, some husbands also keep the fast along with their wives to show them their love. They believe, if their wives can keep it for their well-being, then they must also keep it for their wives well being. This keeps the love between the two budding and brings them closer to each other.
Happy Karva Chauth 2014!