In many societies and religions, fasting is part of a process of corporal and spiritual cleansing. For many religions not eating or drinking during a certain period of time helps them to expiate sins and guilt and helps to have a greater relationship between the devotee and your faith. When traveling to India you will see how this is one of the most striking, colorful and important festivals for women in India. Karva Chauth is celebrated 9 days before Diwali on the fourth day of the full moon after Dusshera.
It starts before dawn and ends only after offering prayers and worship to the moon at night. No food or water can be taken after sunrise. According to tradition, the woman who observes this fast is not only blessed with the welfare of her husband, but the same husband also wins during the next seven births.
On this day the women get up before dawn to worship the gods and the moon along with karvas full of sweets. The karvas are given to the daughters and sisters along with the gifts.
After performing their ablutions they put on new clothes to prepare the food before sunrise. The morning goes by in other festive activities such as the decoration of the hands and feet with henna, preparing the thali (tray) of the puja and meeting with friends and family.
The mother-in-law prepares an elaborate sargi (sumptuous meal) when her daughter-in-law practices her first Karva Chauth. He gets up very early to prepare the sargi, including sweets and other treats he will eat before he starts the fast. Then he blesses her saying "Sada Suhagan Raho", which means "always enjoy a happy married life" when it touches her feet with reverence. He also gives his daughter-in-law gifts, which can be a piece of jewelry or a sari. On your trip to northern India you will be able to know directly everything that revolves around this important festival.
At noon, the mother of the newly married woman sends a basket with gifts. It should usually arrive at her house before the afternoon and it consists of mathris (salty pastas), nuts and some gifts. The gift is a little more special when the daughter is observing her first Karva Chauth.
At night women put on their best clothes. The newlyweds wear the wedding dress on this happy occasion, usually Ghagra choli, Banarsi saris or lehenga choli red, pink or orange preferably, with gold embroidery as they are auspicious colors and complement them with gold, diamonds and rubies. After dressing, they receive the gifts of the mother-in-law.
The jewels, Mehendi and bindis along with other symbols of a married woman such as rings on the nose and feet, tika, churis (bracelets), etc. are a must for all women involved in this celebration. Women from all over the neighborhood and family gather in a group and tell mythological stories that underscore the importance of Karva Chauth.
In the afternoon the women gather in a common place like a temple or a garden or the house of who has organized the puja. An elderly lady or a pujari (priest) tells the legend of Karva Chauth. Even a widow can tell this story. Then, women pray for the long life and well-being of their husbands. When singing the prayers, they pass their berries from one to another. The wait for the moonrise begins after sunset, and as soon as it is seen, prayers are offered. The women first observe the moon through a sieve and immediately after break the fast. The first sip of water and the first bite is offered by the husband and is followed by a sumptuous dinner.
Each woman lights a mud lamp and places it along with sindoor, incense sticks and rice in their thalis while they listen to the story.
The preparations for the pooja begin one day in advance. Married women buy the shringar or traditional ornaments and other elements of the puja such as karvas, mathi (cookies), henna, etc.
Before night and after receiving the berry, the women gather in a house and prepare the bid. The image of Gauri Ma or Parvati Mata is placed on a small platform called chowki puja which is beautifully decorated. In the old days, this image was made with cow dung.
At the beginning of the bid, the women apply roli tikka (vermillion) to Gauri Ma and also to themselves. With the thumb and the ring finger of the right hand, the water is sprinkled over the image of the goddess. The same procedure is repeated with aipun and roli. Finally, the rice spills over the image.
Women sit around these images with their berries. Each woman also puts a karva or jug full of water and seven pieces of pua in front of them. It is adorned with kharia, aipun and a little roli. A red thread is tied around the karva. A special clay pot is placed, which is considered a symbol of Lord Ganesha, a metal urn filled with water, flowers, idols of Gauri Ma, Ambika Mata, Parwati, some fruits and mathi. Apart from this they are offered to the gods and to the pujari.
Once the moon rises, women see their reflection in a thali with water, or through a dupatta or a sieve. They offer water to the moon and ask for blessings. Finally she returns to see her husband's face through the holes in the sieve or the dupatta and they pray for his long life, security and prosperity.
Karwa Chauth is a fast performed by married Hindu women who offer prayers that seek the well-being, prosperity, well-being and longevity of their husbands. A married woman who observes this vrat is called Saubhagyavati.
The Karva Chauth festival was born as a day to celebrate the fall season and enjoy the company of friends and family. But later, many mythological legends were added to give it a religious touch. This festival is glorified and amply solemnized by the Hindus and Sikhs of northwestern India.
As its name implies, Karva means a pot of mud and chauth corresponding to the fourth, this feast is commemorated on the fourth day after the Full Moon in Kartik month of the Hindu calendar. -Wise season, shortly after the harvest, it is an excellent time to enjoy the holidays, get to know each other and exchange gifts. During Karva Chauth's time, parents send gifts to married daughters and their children.
The Karva Chauth festival has an extraordinary compliance rate among married Hindu women in Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat. The various ways of celebrating Karva Chauth vary from one to another at the regional level. New clothes, new jewelry and gifts are received from the mother and mother-in-law. The day of the wedding costumes are worn once again, mehndi is applied and the family gathers to celebrate with them.
There are many similar stories associated with this festival in different parts of India. In this fast several items, including a karwa, a clay pot with a pickaxe, are collected and worship is offered to Shiva and Parvati. In principle, fasting is not to be broken until the moon is seen at night, and an old woman in the house is supposed to narrate the story of Karwa Chauth before the fast is over.