Karva Chauth is made up of two words, 'Karva' which means earthenware, and 'Chauth' means 4th day of the month. 'Karva' or Mitti ka bartan has been given immense importance on this day. The married women wait for this day all year long. This day celebrates the love, affection, and respect a couple has for each other. Hence, women follow the traditions and rituals of this day with devotion and dedication.
इस पेज को हिंदी में पढ़ने के लिए “करवा चौथ” पर क्लिक करें।
Fasting on this Day
This festival is celebrated on the 4th day or 'Chaturthi' of the Krishna Paksha. Women celebrate this day by keeping fasts for their husbands. Indian women celebrate it with a lot of joy. Nowadays, it has become a trend to celebrate it globally. According to the Hindu calendar, this day is celebrated on the 4th day after the 'Poornima' or the day of the full Moon. This is mostly in October or November.
Fasting or keeping a 'Vrath' is a ritual followed by all the married ladies. With this, women pray to Lord Ganesha for a healthy and long life of their spouses. Even though it is celebrated mostly by married women, it is said that unmarried women are supposed to keep fast for their future husbands in some parts of India.
Married women keep a fast for the entire day. Karwa Chauth has a stringent rule that no women can eat or drink anything until the Moon appears in the sky. After the moonrise, women can eat and drink after praying to Lord Shiva and his entire family.
Women pour water in the earthenware to the Moon in the form of Arghy. Donating to the needy is also a ritual followed by the Brahmin ladies and other married ladies. This is celebrated mostly by the North Indians. Just four days after Karva Chauth, Ahoi Ashtami is marked for the sons by their mothers.
Rituals of Karva Chauth
Since this day is a ladies' day, they're all excited about it. Preparations for this day start long before. Some women tend to buy all new things like Sarees and lehengas, makeup, earrings, necklaces, and other different jewellery or Pooja items. And some women bank on their wedding things. Women decorate their hands in different designs of henna, also called 'Mehendi.'
In places like Punjab, women wake up before 4 in the morning and eat and drink because of the fasting that follows the entire day. In Uttar Pradesh, women eat Milk made Ferni on the previous evening as a ritual.
In Punjab, women receive 'Sarghi' from their mother-in-law. 'Sarghi' is a combination of goods like decoratives, sweets, sarees, and other female accessories. It is said that when a lady keeps her first Karva Chauth, a 'Sarghi' is provided to her by her mother in law. Sarghi signifies, the newly wedded has to respect her mother in law’s rituals and traditions and follow it for the rest of her life.
The fast starts with the sunrise. A woman spends her day with either her friends or work as usual. Women also receive gifts from her husbands and parents.
In the evening, women get dressed up in beautiful attires and sit with other females and enjoy this festival together. They dedicatedly decorate the 'Pooja Thaali' and listen to the Karva Chauth Katha.
In places like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, women decorate their thaalis and sit with other women. In such groups, the eldest women or a priest recites the Karva Chauth Katha while others exchange their Thaalis in a circle. This is done seven times, and everyone sings the Katha.
In the first 6 feris or circles they sing "वीरों कुण्डियॉ करवा, सर्व सुहागन करवा, ए कात्ती नाया तेरी ना, कुम्भ चकरा फेरी ना, आर पेअर पायेन ना, रुठदा मानियेन ना, सुथरा जगायेन ना,वे वीरों कुरिये करवा, वे सर्व सुहागन करवा". While in the 7th one they sing "वीरों कुण्डियॉ करवा, सर्व सुहागन करवा, ए कात्ती नाया तेरी नी, कुम्भ चकरा फेरी भी, आर पेअर पायेन भी, रुठदा मानियेन भी, सुथरा जगायेन भी, वे वीरों कुरिये करवा, वे सर्व सुहागन करवा".
In Rajasthan, a ritual is followed where one woman asks the other "धापी की नहीं धापी," and to this, the woman replies "जल से धपी, सुहाग से ना धपी."
In other places of Uttar Pradesh, Gaur Mata is worshipped. Women take some soil in their hands, sprinkle some water on it and apply Kumkum on it. It is said that they've created a sculpture of the holy Gaur Mata. While exchanging their thaalis, they sing, "सदा सुहागन करवा लो, पति की प्यारी करवा लो, सात बहनों की बहन करवा लो, व्रत करनी करवा लो,सास की प्यारी करवा लो". After the Pooja, they give the holy offerings like halwa, poori, namkeen etc. to their mother and sister-in-laws.
After this ceremony, women eagerly wait for the moon. When the Moon finally appears, women with their husbands step out of the house or go to the terrace where the Moon is clearly visible. They carry a strainer or a glass full of water to look at the reflection of the Moon. They worship the Moon and pour Argha to seek blessings. And with the same respect and devotion, they look at their husbands and compare them with the Moon they just worshipped.
With this, they end their fast. Their husbands feed them with water, food, and sweets. Women can finally eat food.
Modern Day Karva Chauth
Nowadays, in North India, the culture and traditions of this auspicious day have changed.
Today, this day is considered romantic. This day's significance now denotes the love and affection between the couple. One of the main reasons is Bollywood. Be it Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge or Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham. The festival has shown that the couple communicates the love for each other by singing songs and dancing. Nowadays, unmarried women celebrate this day for their fiancés or future husbands as a sign of love.
The Traditional Folk Tale of Karva Chauth
Once upon a time, there was a princess Veervati. She was the only sister of 7 brothers. She was married, and on her first Karva Chauth, she came back to her home to live with her parents and brothers. Since this day demanded her to fast for the entire day without water, her health deteriorated by the evening. She started feeling sick, and her worried brothers advised her to eat something so as not to fall ill. But she was adamant as she wanted to keep this fast for her husband. So, her brothers made a fake reflection of the Moon on the top of the sacred 'Peepal Tree.' She believed that the Moon's reflection was real and broke her fast as she was very innocent. Next thing she got to know was that her husband passed away. She couldn't take this and started crying uncontrollably. Her sister in law told her that her brothers were anxious about her condition, so that made a fake moon reflection. This broke her heart, and she started screaming in pain. To this, 'Devi Shakti' appeared before her. Devi asked her why she was crying. She told her the entire story. Devi ordered her to keep the fast again for the next day. If she successfully does this, Yamraj will return to her husband.
It is also believed that her brothers set fire behind the mountain and told her that this is Moon's brightness. She was convinced by this, and as a result, she broke her fast. Then when she got to know about her husband's death, she ran towards his place. On her way, she saw Shiva-Parvati and told them her story. They advised her to keep a fast again, and she shall get her husband back. She did that and got her husband back.
Another story on Karva Chauth
Once upon a time, there was a woman called Karva, who was wholly devoted to her husband. Because of her dedication and devotion, she was granted a spiritual power. One day, her husband was taking a bath in the lake, and a crocodile caught him. Karva used cotton yarn to free her husband from the deadly amphibian. She then asked Yam to throw the crocodile in hell. Yam didn't want to do this to the crocodile, but he had no choice as the woman had spiritual powers, and she could also curse him. She was instead granted a long life for her husband and herself. Since this day, Karva Chauth is celebrated by all the married women for their husbands' healthy and long life. It is their faith that it will protect their husband.
Karva Chauth Method
Before the Pooja starts, the following constituents should be present- a sculpture of Ganesh Ji, Ambika Gauri Maa, Shri Nandishwar, Maa Parvati, Lord Shiva, and Shri Karthikeya. Things of Pooja like utensils, Diya, Kapoor, kajal, Chandan, fruits, sweets, ghee diya, dhoop etc. need to be there.
In the evening, women get dressed and go to their friend's or relative's for Poojas and Kathas. Women sit together and listen to Katha. Katha is mostly recited by the elderly or the preist.
Earthenware filled with wheat is kept in the center, which denotes Lord Ganesha, a utensil filled with water; some fruits are kept near Mata Parvati's figurine. Her figurine is also surrounded by Sweets, mathi, fruits, and food grains.
Some of the things are also preserved for the woman who is narrating the Katha.
Earlier, soil and cow dung was used to prepare Gaur Mata's figurine. But nowadays, Metal or paper figurine is preferred by most women. Before listening to the Katha, women light diyas in their thalis. They wear beautiful attires and mostly cover their heads using their marital dupattas. They worship the God and Goddess and seek their blessings. In some communities, a ritual called ferni is performed to circulate their thaalis seven times within their group. They recite and sing katha together. After this ceremony, they all seek blessings from their elders at home and neighbourhood.
What is Sarghi?
Sarghi is a special meal given to a woman by her mother in law. It is believed that the woman should devour her Sarghi before the sunrise, i.e., at 4 or 5 in the morning. Sarghi can be given by an older woman of the family in case of the absence of mother in law. Sarghi has different edibles like Cashew, almonds, raisins, fruits, sweets, Sewaiyaan. These things give the energy to spend the entire day without eating or drinking anything.
What is the Importance of Mehendi?
Mehendi is a sign of good luck. In India, it is believed that the darker your Mehendi gets, the more love you'll receive from your husband and in-laws. It is also said that dark Mehendi signifies the healthy and long life of the husband. During festivals, Mehendi businesses are on the rise. Women approach Mehendi stalls as they are fond of it. During karva Chauth, one will always find a crowd near the Mehendi stalls.
You can read similar write-up on relevance of astrology in indian festivals for all other major Indian Festivals.