Karwa Chauth is typical a Hindu festival for females, which is specially performed by married women for the long life of their husband. Every year the festival comes on the fourth day ofthe Hindu Lunisolar Calendar. The term ‘Karva’ implies to the clay pots made use to accumulate wheat and ‘Chauth’.
On this occasion, married women and those females who have crossed the age of marriage, fast throughout the daytime to the moonrise asking blessings of the moon for the protection and permanence of their husbands or fiancés. In India, some states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh watch the festival with eagerness.
The festival originated itself form and started to be celebrated only in the northwestern part of the India. One myth tells that military campaigns were often carried out by men in remote places, leaving their wives and the homes. Thus, their wives pray for their husbands and their well-being.
The festival is also taken same as the ceremonies performed in the wheat-sowing time. The big earthen containers in which the wheat is stored are called Karvas. Therefore, the fasting may also have importance regarding a prayer to the God for the good harvest, principally in the wheat-showing regions.
Another story tells about the origin of this ritual started to relate to the attachment of feminine companionship. With the tradition after having an arranged marriage, this is the occasion for the newlywed bride to reside with her husband and the in-laws. Everybody being an unfamiliar person to the bride, get an opportunity to be known to her new residence.
This is believed that that Karva Chauth festival came in its new form to embrace this special bond of friendship.
The method and some vital puja materials of Karwa Chauth:
The married women buy new karvas or round clay pots, 7″-9″ in diameter and having 2 to 3liter capacity. These pots are decorated and painted with stunning designs and colors. Inside, they are kept with bangles, ribbons, some sweets, small clothes, and make-up items. Women who perform the ritual, visit each other’s home on the day of Karva Chauth and substitute their beautifully decorated karvas.
Women start preparations for Karva Chauth in advance. They buy cosmetics, traditional adornments, puja items, jewelries, Karva lamps, henna, and ornamented puja thali. On the beginning day of the fasting, Punjabi women start their day early in the morning for sargi (something sweet like kheer, fruits and juices), just before sunrise. In Uttar Pradesh, most of the women eat soot feni in sargi. It is believed that this facilitates them to go with no water till the moon rise in the evening. It is conventional that the fasting lady gets the sargi prepared by her mother-in-law, if she lives jointly with her mother-in-law.
The fasting starts before sunrise. Women do not eatand drink anything throughout the day. Traditionally, the fasting women do no household works during these days. Women generally apply Henna and enjoy Karva songs. The day goes away with a gathering of friends and relatives.
In some provinces, there is a custom to give painted earthen pots filled with ribbons, bangles, home-made candy small cloth, and cosmetics items. Parents of the married women often send gifts to their girls and their husbands.
In the evening, after the dusk, the ceremony is organized. The women who are fasting prepare themselves for the Pooja. They are dressed up as a newly-wed bride with henna on their hands.
In UP, married women wear either a lehenga or a sari. They make a circle and listen to Vrat Katha. Depending on the province and community, a story of the Karva Chauth is narrated with regular intervals. The narrator is usually the most elderly woman of the family and relatives; she also sings puja songs jointly by the followers to perform the feris.
In present North and the Northwestern part of India, Karva Chauth is a festival of romanticism, representing the love between couples. Since Karva Chauth is performed mostly by women, as the women keep their fasting for their beloved husbands, there are many places, where husbands also perform the same for their wives. It is very beautiful to see the women performing rituals with their husbands.In the current age, a number of unmarried women also fast out of a sense of companionship.
Timings of Karwa Chauth Shubh Muhurat:
In 2020, this festival will be performed on Novemer 04, which will fall on Wednesday. The rituals would start and take place until the moon rise which may vary in different locations in India.