According to Indian tradition, marriage introduces the responsibilities, privileges and rights of a husband and wife towards each other. In a traditional Hindu family, husband is the earner and the protector of the family whereas the various duties of a wife involves proper care, nurturing, education and continuity of cultural heritage of the family for future generations.
Indian women keep various fasts to show her respect and affection for her husband. They pray for a healthy and prosperous marital life. In different regions, these special days are known by different names. Some of them are mentioned below.
Karwa Chauth is the most popular festival among married women. It is widely celebrated throughout North India. Having an extraordinary observance rate among married Hindu women, the fast of Karwa Chouth is undertaken by married woman seeking the welfare and prosperity of their husbands.
Region: North India in states like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Gujarat, Delhi and others.
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This festival is generally observed on Vata Poornima, the full moon day of Jyestha. On the auspicious day of Vat Savitri puja, married women pay honor to the Banyan tree and Savitri, the legendary chaste wife who fought with death to recover the life of her husband.
Region: Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Orissa.
Teej is another Hindu festival that is celebrated be keeping a fast for the entire day. The word for fasting i.e. Upavasa itself means to move near to the Supreme. The festival shows that women religiously participate in the rituals in order to achieve an effective marital life.
Region: Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh.
As the name implies, Mahashivratri is a day to recall the legendary tale of the Shiv lingam and about the legends and beliefs associated with Shivratri. The festival is mainly celebrated by married women as well as unmarried girls looking for a perfect match.
Region: Throughout India (major states include Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Maharastra)
The festival of Gangaur is held about a fortnight after Holi to honor Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. Girls move towards the temple of Gauri for the ceremonial bath of the deity who is then bedecked with flowers.
Region: Rajasthan, Gujarat & Bengal
All the married women perform the pooja of Varalakshmi Vratham and get the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi for a happy and prosperous marriage. There is no restriction of caste and creed for the celebration of this festival.
Region: South India states of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka
Karadaiyan Nombu an extremely important festival for all the married women of Southern region in India. The festival is known for its religious and philosophical connotations. Nonbu is to observe certain norms and offer our prayers accordingly.
Region: Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.