Karwa Chauth is a very popular fasting observance practiced by married Hindu women; to seek long life and welfare of their husbands. Women observe rigorous fasting on this day, without even drinking a glass of water after sunrise. It is only when the moon rises that they eat something to break their fast. During this time, men are generally expected to feed the first bite of food to their wives.
But why is Karva Chauth celebrated?
The significance of the celebration dates back to the days of the 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.
The festival falls on the fourth day of the Hindu luni - solar calendar. ‘Karva’ means earthen pots used to store wheat and ‘chauth’ means the fourth day. Woman buy new earthen pots a few days before the festival and decorate it with beautiful designs and put new bangles, sweets, and make - up items inside them. They would then visit other women and exchange the karvas.
How is Karva chauth celebrated?
In addition to the meticulous fasting, women partake in pujas and prayers for their husbands’ long life and prosperity. They don’t even drink a glass of water throughout the day. After the puja, women wait for the moon to rise, which they look at through a sieve while offering their prayers. According to the religious text, the moon on this day is said to be representative of Lord Shiva or Lord Ganesha.
What is sargi?
According to the rituals, the mother - in - law presents a thali called sargi for her daughter - in - law, mostly consisting of eatables like mithai, matthri, dry fruits, coconut and gifts like saris and jewellery.
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