Karwa Chauth Puja 2021
Karwa Chauth Puja is a celebration of the never-ending love between husband and wife. It is a day, where both reaffirm their love and commitment for each other. On this day married women observe a fast from sunrise to moonrise and wish for the good health and long lie of their husband. The husband, on his part, promises to take care of his wife for the whole life and fulfill all their needs and desires.
This year Karwa Chauth 2021 will fall on 24 October, and this will be the Chaturthi as per the Kartik month of the Hindu calendar. This will come few days after the Sharad Purnima, which will fall on 19 October this year, during the ‘krishna’ paksha of Kartik month, which is actually the phase of the diminishing moon.
How to celebrate Karwa Chauth in 2021?
The festival of Karwa Chauth is celebrated across India, though it is more popular in Northern and Central India, and even in some cities of Pakistan. In India, it is very popular especially in states like Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and even Maharashtra. A slightly different variation of Karwa Chauth is celebrated in Andhra Pradesh. This festival is called ‘Atla Tadde’. In Odisha also, married women celebrate a festival called Savitri Amavasya. Though this is different from Karwa Chauth, the basic idea behind both the festivals is the same.
How Karwa Chauth Puja is celebrated in different regions.
As already mentioned, Karwa Chauth Puja is celebrated across the country. But each state and region has some different cultures and folklore, which affect the celebration of the festival. Hence, there are a lot of variations from state to state.
Celebrating Karwa Chauth in Punjab:
Punjab is probably the one state, where in 2021 Karwa Chauth puja will be celebrated on a very high level. The ladies start preparations days before the actual festival. They do shopping for items of suhaag, solah-shringaar, and dresses and jewellery for themselves. They also shop for ‘karwa’ and items to decorate the karwa and pooja thali. They also apply mehendi on their palms on the eve of Karwa Chauth.
On the day of Karwa Chauth, the married women wake up early, even before sunrise. They take a bath and then eat the Sargi, which is prepared by their mother-in-law. This pre-dawn meal is actually a symbol of the love of the mother-in-law for her daughter-in-law. In Punjab, sargi is a very important part of the celebration and includes sweets like feni, meethi mathri, and dry fruits.
After sargi, the fasting women wear special dresses, which is mainly red-coloured saree or traditional lehenga to look their best. In some regions, women wear their traditional dresses, and even the dress they wore on the day of the wedding. They apply solah-shringaar, and put on the jewellery, and appear as the bride.
In the evening, ladies get together and sit in a circle to perform the pooja.
Celebrating Karwa Chauth in Uttar Pradesh:
In Uttar Pradesh, the fasting ladies eat soot feni with milk and sugar on the eve of the festival. This soot feni is believed to give them the strength to go without food and water the next day. As everywhere, here also the fast begins with the sunrise. The fasting women do not eat or drink anything during the day, not even water. The Hindu ladies perform various rituals along with the fast and pray for their husband’s long life.
During Karwa Chauth puja, the fasting women are not supposed to do any household work. They spend the whole day meeting their friends and relatives. In some regions, the ladies exchange painted clay pots filled with suhaag-items like bindi, bangles, ribbons, cosmetics, and small cloth items, like a handkerchief.
In the evening, women from the community gather together in an open ground. They are all dressed in fine saree or lehengas and put on jewellery. The most preferred colour here is red, as it is believed to be a very auspicious colour for such occasions. They all sit forming a circle with puja thalis in their hands. They make mud idols of Gauri, Ganesh, and Shankar and decorate them with colourful clothes and jewellery.
Depending on region and community, some version of the folk tale related to Karwa Chauth is narrated by an older woman or a priestess. In some regions, the ladies narrate the folk-lore of Beejabeti, or Veervati. During the narration, there are several pauses, where the ladies perform feris (pass their thalis among each other) and sing songs. The karwas are exchanged seven times in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.
In some parts of Uttar Pradesh, the ladies worship “Gaur Mata” the earth. The ladies take a bit of soil and sprinkle water on it, and then apply kumkum on it. This is done to worship the fertile Mother Earth, as a manifestation of Goddess Gauri.
Celebrating Karwa Chauth in Rajasthan:
In Rajasthan, during the karwa chauth puja in the evening when the ladies gather, the older women of the family narrate the story of Karwa Chauth along with the folk-lore of Shiv-Parvati and Ganesh. Earlier, ladies used to make an idol of Gaur Mata using cow dung and soil. The same has now been replaced with a clay idol of Parvati.
In the morning, the fasting ladies take out some share of whatever they have prepared as ‘baayna’,. This includes some money and goodies like halwa, puri, choorma, namkeen mathri. They first offer it to the idols and then hand them over to their mother-in-law, sister-in-law, or some senior lady,
After the evening pooja, the ladies wait for moonrise. After the moonrise, the ladies view the moon or its reflection in a vessel filled with water, through a chhanni, or through their dupatta. They offer water (ark) to the moon and also say a brief prayer asking for the long life of their husbands. The prayer means, “Like the gold necklace and the pearl bracelet, just like the moon may my suhaag always shine brightly.” It is believed that at this stage, after observing the day long fast, the married woman acquires so much spiritual power, that she can even combat Yama, the death god, and successfully confront and defeat death.
In Rajasthan, before offering the water, the ‘nanad’, (sister-in-law) of the fasting lady asks her in the local dialect, “Dhaapi ki ni Dhaapi?” (Are you satiated or not?), to which she responds, “Jal se Dhaapi, Suhaag se na Dhaapi” (I am satiated by water, but not from [love of] my husband). The husband then offers water to his wife, which is her first sip that day. Now, the fast is now broken and the woman can have a proper meal with her family.
As seen, Karwa Chauth Puja is celebrated in most parts of India, with some minor differences. But the thought remains the same. Now, a days, many unmarried girls are observe this fast and pray for a good husband.
Q. 1: What does the festival of Karwa Chauth puja signify?
Ans: Karwa Chauth signifies the never-ending love between husband and wife.
Q. 2: What is baayna?
Ans: The fasting ladies take out some share of whatever they have prepared along with some money and offer it to the idols. Later it is given their mother-in-law, sister-in-law, or some senior lady. This is called baayna.
Q. 3: How many times are karwas exchanged?
Ans: Karwas are exchanged 7 times.
Q. 4: Can unmarried girls observe Karwa Chauth vrat?
Ans: Yes, unmarried girls can also observe Karwa Chauth vrat and pray for a good husband.
Q. 5: When is the fast broken?
Ans: The fast is broken after the moonrise.