Posted on : 25th September 2016
Karva Chauth - 'Chauth' means 'fourth day' and 'Karwa' is an earther pot - symbolic of prosperity and well being. Chauth is the fourth night (day) after the Full Moon in Kartik month according to Hindu calendar. This is an occasion which pays tribute to the institution of marriage in India. Karva Chauth is predominantly observed in the north and north western parts of the country and is kept by married Hindu women. This fast is for the longevity of husband's life and for continued marital bliss.
For all newly-wed couples, observance of this festival represents a very special occasion. A newly married woman is given utmost importance by her relatives and immediate family members when she observes this fast for the long life of her husband. She is showered with blessings for a blessed married life and loads of Karva Chauth gifts.
All women wake up early in the morning and eat specially prepared food known as 'sargi' before sunrise. They are not supposed to eat or even drink water during the day. In the evening, they dress up in bridal finery and listen to the Karwa Chauth katha. The fast is supposed to be broken only after moonrise. Women look towards their husbands through a sieve and then at the moon. Then they perform aarti of their husbands and take his blessings. It is the husband who then gives the first sip of water and the first bite of food to his wife.
Married women start preparing for Karwa Chauth pooja a day in advance. They buy shringar or traditional adornments and other pooja items like karwa, matthi, heena etc. Early in the morning, before sunrise, they prepare food and have it. The morning passes by in other festive activities like applying heena on hands and feet, decorating pooja thali and meeting family and loved ones.
In the evening, women gather at a common pooja place like temple or someone's house who has arranged the puja. An elderly lady or 'pujarin' narrates the Karva Chauth legend and all ladies listen to the katha. The essentials of this gathering and listening of the Karwa chauth story includes a special mud pot, that is considered a symbol of lord Ganesha, a metal urn filled with water, flowers, idols of Ambika Gaur Mata, Goddess Parwati and some fruits, mathi and food grains. A part of this is offered to the deities and the storyteller.