Karva Chauth, The sacred festival observed predominantly by married women across the country falls on October 17 this year. Karwa Chauth is observed each year on the fourth day of Krishna Paksh during the Kartik month by offering an argh to the moon through an earthen pot known as Karva.
Married women observe a nirjala fast for the well-being and long life of their husbands.
The festival of Karva Chauth is celebrated with immense zeal and fervour across the country. The whole of North India, especially Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh celebrate the festival in a grand way. In the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, Karva Chauth is celebrated as Chhath on the same day.
Karva Chauth Rituals
One primary aspect of the festival of Karva Chauth is fasting. Married women and a lot of unmarried women too who want to seek a suitable groom for themselves observe fast from dawn until dusk. They don’t eat or drink anything until the rise of the moon.
The women observing fast on Karva Chauth apply mehendi as a mark of the festival. There are elaborate mehendi designs that are curated especially for this day. An interesting belief revolving around the ritual of mehendi is the color it gives off. It is believed that the darker the color of the mehendi or henna, the more stronger is the bond between the wife and the husband. It also is indicative of the good healthy life of the husband.
Karva Chauth Sargi
The sargi is the sacrosanct of Karva Chauth Prepared by the mother-in-law, she then gifts it to her daughter-in -law. Traditionally, the sargi was sent over to the daughter-in-law in an earthen pot consisting of mathri, mithai, fruits and dry fruits.
The Karva Chauth puja mahurat will last for one hour and 16 minutes- starting at 5:46 PM and ending at 7:02 PM.
Karva Chauth Upvaas Mahurat- the upvaas mahurat will last for 13 hours and 50 minutes starting from 6:27 AM and ending at 8:16 PM.
Moonrise time- 8:16 PM
Celebrating Karva Chauth
Women observing the karva chauth fast get up early in the morning before the upvaas mahurat and eat from the sargi given to them by their mother-in-law. Post that, they begin their fast wherein they do not consume even a drop of water.
Women adorn beautiful red sarees on this day as a mark of the beautiful bond they share with their husbands.
In many states, the women observing karva chauth adorn heavy red salwar suits instead of sarees.
Newly wed women who observe their first karva chauth post wedding wear their bridal dressed along with their bridal jewellery. In fact, many married women accessorise their look with their bridal jewellery on the day of karva chauth.
Married women and the unmarried ones observing fast sit in a circle and collectively listen to the Karva Chauth vrat katha. On this day, goddess Parvati is worshipped along with Lord Shiv and their son Kartikeya.
As the karva chauth vrat katha is being narrated, the women seated in circles start passing their karva (the earthen pots) in rotation and pray for the long life of their husbands. The unmarried ones pray to be blessed with a well deserving groom.
The fast is broken at moonrise- the instance the moon is spotted. Once the moon has risen, the women gather in a line and pray to the moon through a sieve for long, happy and healthy lives of their husbands and to be blessed with marital bliss. They then look at their husbands through the same sieve which is symbolic of seeing the Lord in their husbands.
According to the ritual, the fast is broken by the husbands who give them the first morsel of food and the first sip of water. The women then perform aarti along with their husbands.
After this, the karva or the earthen pot that is used to offer the argh is then given as daan to the Brahmin performing the karva chauth puja. It can also be given to an elderly person in the neighbourhood.
Husbands gift their wives with precious gifts as a symbol of the love they profess for their wives.
In most societies, post the karva chauth fast, a grand dinner is organised which serves as a community gathering too. It is a mark of merrymaking and enjoyment for all the participating families.
The festival of Karva chauth is that of great cultural and religious significance. The rituals of sargi, mehendi, wearing red sarees for karva chauth are all imbibed beautifully even today in the modern and hectic lifestyle that the people follow. It is elating to know that however advanced and free-spirited the generation of today is, it has retained the importance of age-old traditions that still are a glimpse of the enriched heritage India enjoys.
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