Karva Chauth is celebrated on the fourth day of the new moon in the Hindu calendar month of Kartik. On this occasion married women observes a ritual fast for the longevity, well-being and prosperity of their husbands. The fast is broken only after the moon is sighted and then prayers are offered to it. It is also the custom for the husbands and mothers-in-law to present gifts on the occasion.
Karwa Chauth is a very important festival for every married woman in the country. It is considered as the most auspicious festivals for them and on this day they pray to the gods for their husband’s well-being, prosperity and wealth. Karva Chauth is celebrated on the fourth day of the new moon in the Hindu calendar month of Kartik. Karva Chauth comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Karva’ which means an earthen pot with a spout and “chauth” meaning the “fourth day.” The earthen pot is essential for the rituals of the day and it is considered a symbol of peace and prosperity. On Karwa Chauth married women are supposed to not eat food or drink water from morning to sunset. The fast ends only after the moon is sighted. The fast is considered as the most important fast observed in Indian traditions. Preparations for the day start before the sunrise and the mother-in-law hands over the ‘sargi’ to the daughter-in-law which must be consumed before sunrise. The sargi is usually vermicelli kheer or dry fruits and this is the last meal the women will have for the whole day. Starting from sunrise the woman are bound not eat or drink anything in order to make the fast successful. They keep a very strict fast and do not take even a drop of water. During the whole day the women usually do no housework. They apply henna or mehendi to themselves and each other and the day passes in meeting friends and relatives. In the evening, the women gather in groups and narrate mythological stories centered on Karva Chauth and its significance. An elderly woman in the house usually narrates the story of Karva Chauth before the fast is terminated.
At night when the moon appears, the women view it through a sieve, or through the cloth of a dupatta. They then offer water and flowers to the moon and the worship for the day is deemed complete. The husband is also present at this time and it’s essential that the first sip of water and the first morsel of food are served by them. Nowadays, there is a changing trend of Karwa Chauth and husbands also observe fast for their wives. This is an act of solidarity and it surely strengths the bond between husband and wife.
The festival is celebrated 9 days prior to Diwali, and the fast of Karva Chauth is a precursor to the fun and festivities associated with Diwali which is one of the biggest festivals of India. Karva chauth has been celebrated in the country for generations and people still follow the customs and traditions with the same fervor and enthusiasm. It is also the custom for the husbands and mothers- in law to present their wives with karwa chauth gifts on the day of the festival. And in these modern age of computers and with the rise of internet gift portals finding a gift for Karva Chauth is a relatively easy affair. But even though there are a lot of Karva Chauth gift ideas out there, one should never forget that love and devotion is the best Karva Chauth gift ever.
Read article to know more about Karwa Chauth festival in appreciation of married women.