What is the Importance of Karva Chauth

Karwa Chauth, also known as Karak Chaturthi (करक चतुर्थी), is an ages old one day festival for married women. There is immense importance of karva chauth among Indian women when they observe complete fast from sunrise to moon-rise for the safety and longevity of their husbands. Throughout the day, women do not consume any food, not even water. At night, women eagerly wait for moon to shine so that they can complete the fast by worshiping their husband and take the food. Unmarried women can also keep the fast for their fiances or desiring husband.

Karwa means earthen pot through which water is offered to the moon, this is known as Argha (अर्घ). It coincides with wheat-sowing time and considered as a prayer for good harvest. Big karvas are also used to store wheat.
This festival is very much popular among the Sikh community, and specially celebrated in the Northern India States of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and Haryana. In the states of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Chattisgarh, this festival is known and celebrated as Chhath. The festival falls on the fourth day after the full moon in the Hindu month of Kartik.

Karwa Chauth Ritual and Tradition

Before karwa chauth, girls and women apply mehndi on their hands and feet with beautiful designs to decorate their body and look gorgeous. It is an ages old tradition and a very integral part of this festival which symbolizes luck and prosperity. Now a days, women also apply mehndi on their back as well to showcase their back by wearing backless or semi backless dresses. It is believed that woman who get dark color will get a loads of love and caring from her groom.

On the day of karwa chauth, women wake up before sunrise take bath and consume food given by their mother-in-law known as ‘Sargi’ which consists of sweet made by milk and semolina, parantha, ten matthis, puas (sweet made of jaggery), halwa, and various types of fruits and sweets. Fast starts right from sunrise. There is another ritual called Baya. Baya is the gift given to the mother-in law by the daughter’s parents.

In the evening, women get ready with elegant dresses, jewelry, and make up. New brides wear their bridal dresses. All the women from neighbourhood gather for the evening rituals, which includes Karwa Chauth Vrat Katha, exchanging of specially prepared thalis, and karva chauth songs. The eldest women in the group narrates the story of Karwa Chauth. Karwa chauth thalis consist of sringar (beauty) items such as bindi, kumkum, lipstick, kajal; jewelry items like mangalsutra, maangtika, rings, necklace, bangles, ear-rings, anklets (payal), toe-rings, nose-ring; fashionable and multicolored glass bangles; and above mentioned food items.

Women worship Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati, and their sons, Lord Kartikeya & Ganesha. Women worship with ten earthen pots (Karwas) filled with sweets. Once the rituals are done, these Karwas are distributed to daughters and sisters.
In the night, women first see the Moon through the filter (sieve) and then see their beloved or husbands, the ritual of looking at the husband through the sieve removes all the evil effects from him. The ladies are then fed with sweet, milk or water by their beloved to break the fast. Husbans give their wives a special gift which they wait for entire day.

As per beliefs, karwa chauth fast ensures that the couple enjoys a prosperous married life that lasts for many years.

Gautam Trehan

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