In addition to the fasting, women partake in pujas and prayers for their husbands’ long life and prosperity. They abstain from drinking water throughout the day, and only consume food/water once the moon is up.
Let us take a look at how Karva Chauth originated:
According to Mahabharata, Karva Chauth can be traced back to the time when Savitri begged the god of death, Lord Yama, for her husband’s soul. Another episode in the epic states that when Arjuna went to the Nilgiris to pray and meditate for a few days, leaving the rest of the Pandavas and Draupadi behind, his wife got worried and she sought Lord Krishna’s help. He advised her to fast for Arjuna’s well - being and reminded her how goddess Parvati did the same for Shiva’s safety. Draupadi adhered to the fast, observing all its rituals carefully and soon Arjuna returned home.
The festival is also associated with wheat - sowing time or the beginning of the rabi crop - cycle, which is probably why Karva Chauth is observed in most agriculture - dependent regions like Rajasthan, Punjab, western UP, etc.
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