Karwa Chauth Festival: Significance & Celebrations

India is known for numerous festivals and one such festival that is celebrated all across the country is the Karwa hauth festival. We will now discuss the same in more details. For those who do not know about the Karwa Chauth festival, it is a pooja that is done by married women for a long life of their husbands. The Karwa Chauth festival is more common in the northern parts of the country, especially in the states of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh.

Karwa Chauth Festival Date in 2017

The Karwa Chauth festival is usually celebrated in the month of October. This year the tradition will be celebrated on 8th October 2017.

Karva Chauth CelebrationsProcedure During Karwa Chauth Festival

On this special day the women get up early in the morning and first of all they take a shower. After that they worship Lord Shiva, Parvati and Ganesh then they eat something. This must be done before the sun is up.

Throughout the day the women don’t eat or drink even a drop of water. When the sun sets in the evening they see the moon and then they see their husbands and break the fast. They break the fast only when the husbands offer them something to eat with their own hands and give them water.

History & Mythology of Karva Chauth Vrat

Let us first understand how exactly the Karwa Chauth festival actually started in India. There are many theories that support this tradition. It is interesting that the Karwa Chauth festival was followed traditionally only in the northern parts of the country.

The historians believe that north India was more under attack from the foreign intruders. This is exactly why these men had to fight a lot of battles. Their wives would ensure that they fast so that their husbands return home safe after a battle.

The oldest mention of the Karwa Chauth festival can be seen in the epic Mahabharata. In this Lord Krishna tells Draupadi that if a woman fasts on Karwa Chauth festival all her wishes will be fulfilled and her husband will be safe.

Lord Krishna also mentions that this fast was originally advised by Lord Shiva to his wife Parvati. Some also associate the Karwa Chauth festival with a good harvest. Perhaps it was a pooja done to thank the god for a good harvest.

For New Weds

The Karwa Chauth festival is more special if the couple is newly wed. The celebration becomes as grand as the wedding itself. The mother in law of the girl sends sargi to the daughter in law. It consists of sari that is mostly red in colour, food items that include sweets, fruits, dry fruits, etc. The sargi also contain sringaar items like mahendi, traditional jewelleries, makeup items and bindis.

Depending on the financial capacity of the family the girl gets gifts. The woman doing the Karwa Chauth should eat the sweets and the fruits sent in the sargi. If the mother in law is present then she can cook the food that the woman should eat before sunrise. The woman doing the Karwa Chauth fast also get gifts from her own mother that is called the baya. It is similar to sargi in the contents.

Some essentials that you must have if you are celebrating the Karwa Chauth festival:

1. A red saree
2. Get the jewellery that you will be wearing on the day
3. A platform where you will be doing the puja
4. Cow dung to make the idol of goddess parvati (this is not compulsory)
5. A book on the stories of the Karwa Chauth festival
6. Fruits and sweets for bhog
7. Kumkum
8. A bunch of red thread
9. A clay vessel or pot with water. This is also called karwa
10. A plate to keep all the items that we have mentioned above. You can decorate this plate as per your ability and creativity.
11. Some money
12. You will need a lamp
13. A sieve to see the moon

During the day the women make delicacies for the evening. The women in the evening dress up like brides. They also go to the beauty salons to dress up for the occasion. Women wear heavy jewelleries and the festivities become even grander.

The Evening Pooja

The women in the locality gather in one house and they prepare for the puja. They make a puja platform which is also called the chowk. It is very well decorated. On this platform the image of Goddess Parvati is placed. In the olden days the idol of Goddess Parvati was made with cow dung. The women sit around the image in the evening. Each one of them has their bayas.

Then the women place the pitcher full of water in front of them with the seven pieces of pua. These are decorated with kharia, roli and aipun. A red thread is tied around the pot. The roli tika is applied to the goddess. The water from the pot is sprinkled on the image of Parvati. Some rice, roli and aipun are also sprinkled on the image.

The Vrat Katha

After this one of the women narrates the story of Karwa Chauth festival known as the vrat katha or the story of the fast. The interesting part to note is that even a widow can actually narrate this story. The women pray for the long life of their husbands. While the women pray they pass their bayas from one to another. After this they wait for the moon to shine. As soon as the moon shines they do the break the fast after they see the moon with the sieve. The husband offers the first food bite and water. After this a grand dinner follows.

Fast for Her

As times are changing some argue why women should only fast. This is why some men also keep the fast with their wives. The husbands ensure that they gift something to the wife for the fast that she keeps. They generally give gifts as per their financial ability and position.

The traditions of Karwa Chauth festival is changing. From a simple puja that women would do it has become a full fledged festival. Many women who are from south and eastern parts of the country also keep the fast on Karwa Chauth. So we can say that Karwa Chauth is slowly becoming a festival that is celebrated all across the country. It is a huge festival and a good time to do business for the shops.

Karva Chauth Vrat Katha

We will now also write about the Karwa Chauth katha. This will help you to celebrate the Karwa Chauth even if you do not have friends and family around you.

“Many years ago there lived a beautiful princess called Veeravati. When she became of a marriageable age she was married to a king. On the Karwa Chauth festival after her marriage Veeravati decided to meet her parents. After the sunrise she kept a strict fast. The queen was very delicate and she could not keep the fast.

By the evening Veeravati fainted. Veeravati had seven brothers. The brothers decided that they should do something. They cannot let their sister suffer like this. So they went to the nearby hill and lighted a huge fire. They told Veeravati that the fire was the moon and as the moon was up she could break her fast. Veeravati had food as she was convinced. As soon as she finished the food she got the news that her husband was dead.

Veeravati rushed to her palace as soon as she heard the news. On the way she met lord Shiva and his wife Parvati. They told her that her husband died as Veeravati broke her fast seeing a false moon. Veeravati begged for forgiveness. Lord Parvati then told her that she will get back her husband but he will not be healthy. When Veeravati came back to the palace she saw that her husband was unconscious and had many needles in his body. She was told to remove one needle a day.

Veeravati did exactly so. Next year on the Karwa Chauth festival day only one needle was remaining on the body of the king. Veeravati decided that she will remove it only in the evening. Veeravati did keep the fast. She went to the market to buy all the items that were needed for the Karwa Chauth puja. When she returned she saw that her maid had removed the last needle and the king was conscious. The king mistook the maid for Veeravati. So she was made the maid and the maid was living like the queen.

Veeravati kept doing all that was expected from her as a maid. The king was very pleased with her service. One day the king was going to the nearby kingdom. He asked Veeravati what she wanted. She told him that she wanted a pair of identical dolls. The king gave the dolls to her Veeravati as promised. After getting the dolls Veeravati kept singing “the queen has turned into maid and the maid has turned into queen”.

The king heard her singing this song and asked her what the matter was. Veeravati then told him what happened and how the role exchange resulted. The king felt very upset at what he had done and he asked Veeravati to forgive him. The king gave Veeravati back the royal position that she deserved. It was the sole dedication and love of Veeravati that she could get her husband back.

This is the katha of the Karwa Chauth festival that is read out by the eldest woman in the gathering. We hope that you liked this article on Karwa Chauth festival. This will help you to understand what exactly the Karwa Chauth festival is and why it is celebrated. In case you are alone on Karwa Chauth and don’t know how to do this fast this article will definitely help you. Have a very happy and prosperous Karwa Chauth festival.

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