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Karva Chauth – Festivals by the married Hindu women
The fast of Karwa Chauth is kept 9 days before Diwali. It falls on the fourth day of the Kartik month by the Hindu calendar (fourth day of the waning moon or the dark fortnight).
Karwa Chauth is considered one of the most observed festivals by the married Hindu women. On this day women pray for the welfare and long life of their husbands. The festival is followed mainly in the northern parts of India
Married women eat food early in the morning, before sunrise. They are not supposed to eat or even drink water during whole of the day. In the evening the ladies listen to the Karwa Chauth Katha (the legend). The fast is over after the moon rise.
The Puja Process
The preparations for the puja start a day in advance. Married women buy the shringar or the traditional adornments and the other like the karwa, matthi, etc.
Early in the morning they prepare food and eat it before sunrise. The morning passes by in other festive activities like decorating hand and feet with Mehandi and meeting friends and relatives.
In the late afternoon all the women gather at a common place like temple or a garden or someones’ place who has arranged the puja. An elderly lady or the pujarin narrates the legend of Karwa Chouth.
The essentials of this gathering and listening of the story. 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.
Earlier an idol of Gaur Mata was made using earth and cowdung. Now just an idol of Goddess Parwati is kept. Every one lights an earthen lamp in their thalis while listening to the Karwa story. Sindoor, incense sticks and rice are also kept in their thali.
At this time the women wear heavy saris or chunries in red , pink or other bridal colors, and adorn themselves with all other symbols of a married women like, nose pin, tika, bindi, chonp, bangles, earrings etc.
Once the moon rise happens the women see its reflection in a thali of water, or through a dupatta or a sieve. They offer water to the moon and seek the blessings. They pray for the safety, prosperity and long life of their husbands. This marks the end of the day long fast. May God Bless you and your family abundantly in this occasion of Karva Chauth. Jai Sri Ram
The Story of Karva Chauth is as follows
Queen Veervati a beautiful queen was the only sister of seven loving brothers. She spent her first Karva Chauth as a married woman at her parents’ home. She began a strict fast after sunrise but, by evening, was desperately waiting for the moonrise as she suffered severe thirst and hunger …
After sunrise, she observed a strict fast. However, the queen was too delicate and couldn’t stand the rigours of fasting. By evening, Veeravati was too weak, and fainted. Now, the queen had seven brothers who loved her dearly. They couldn’t stand the plight of their sister and decided to end her fast by deceiving her. They made a fire at the nearby hill and asked their sister to see the glow. They assured her that it was the moonlight and since the moon had risen, she could break her fast.”
“However, the moment the gullible queen ate her dinner, she received the news that her husband, the king, was dead. The queen was heartbroken and rushed to her husband’s palace. On the way, she met Lord Shiva and his consort, Goddess Parvati. Parvati informed her that the king had died because the queen had broken her fast by watching a false moon. However, when the queen asked her for forgiveness, the goddess granted her the boon that the king would be revived but would be ill.”
“When the queen reached the palace, she found the king lying unconscious with hundreds of needles inserted in his body. Each day, the queen managed to remove one needle from the king’s body. Next year, on the day of Karva Chauth, only one needle remained embedded in the body of the unconscious king.”
“The queen observed a strict fast that day and when she went to the market to buy the karva for the puja , her maid removed the remaining needle from the king’s body. The king regained consciousness, and mistook the maid for his queen. When the real queen returned to the palace, she was made to serve as a maid.”
“However, Veeravati was true to her faith and religiously observed the Once when the king was going to some other kingdom, he asked the real queen (now turned maid) if she wanted anything. The queen asked for a pair of identical dolls. The king obliged and the queen kept singing a song ” Roli ki Goli ho gayi… Goli ki Roli ho gayi ” (the queen has turned into a maid and the maid has turned into a queen).”
“On being asked by the king as to why did she keep repeating that song, Veeravati narrated the entire story. The king repented and restored the queen to her royal status. It was only the queen’s devotion and her faith that won her husband’s affection and the blessings of Goddess Parvati.”