Festivals have a very special place in life. They provide a break from the monotony of daily routine and bring excitement and happiness to our life. Festivals give us an occasion to buy and wear new clothes, meet our friends and relatives and enjoy ourselves with them. While most festivals are celebrated by all people, there are some festivals that are celebrated by a particular group or segment of people. Karwa Chauth is one such festival, which is celebrated by the Hindu ladies, who are married.
What is Karwa Chauth?
Karwa Chauth is a Hindu festival, which is celebrated with great excitement and fervour by the married ladies. On this day, married ladies observe a ‘nirjalaa’ fast, which means fast without even taking water. This nirjala fast is observed from sunrise till moonrise. This day is celebrated by Hindu ladies for their husbands. Women fast on this day to pray for the health and long life of their husbands. These days, many husbands too, observe the fast along with their wives for a similar reason and also to provide moral support. Off late, unmarried girls have also started observing fast on Karwa Chauth.
Though across India women celebrate Karwa Chauth, but this festival is more popular among the ladies in Northern and Central India, especially states of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and even Maharashtra.
When is Karwa Chauth Celebrated?
According to ‘Vikram Samwat’ (Hindu calendar), the festival of Karwa Chauth is celebrated on the Chaturthi (fourth day) after the full moon day in the month of Kartik, which is commonly known as ‘Sharad Purnima’. This Chauth comes normally 9 days after Dusshera, and 11 days before Deepawali. The festival of Karwa Chauth symbolizes the love between husband and wife and strengthens the bond of love and romance between the two.
How is Karwa Chauth celebrated?
The married women eagerly await the festival, and start preparing a few days in advance by shopping for jewellery, traditional attire like saree or lehenga, shringaar (cosmetics), and pooja items, such as karwa diya (lamps) and decorated thali. The bazars also have a decorated looks during these days.
On the auspicious day of Karwa Chauth, the ladies wake up early, even before sunrise. They take a bath and eat some dry fruits and other food items. This food which is prepared by her mother-in-law is called ‘Sargi’. This sargi thali contains sweet and dishes like dry fruits, pheni, mathri, parantha along with tea or coffee, which provide energy to the woman observing fast throughout the day.
This sargi holds a lot of importance, and Karwa Chauth is never complete without it. This meal taken before sunrise is much more than just food eaten in the wee hours of the morning. It symbolizes the bond of love between a mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law. The mother-in-law blesses her with gifts and thus makes their bond strong.
After this, the married women dress up in a traditional red-coloured saree and apply mehendi on their palms. The red dress and mehendi signify a happy married life. Now the fast starts and women do not take anything, not even water. In the evening, the ladies of the colony get together and perform the pooja. They worship Goddess Parvati, followed by Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesha, and Lord Kartikeya. The ladies narrate the folk related to the Karwa Chauth and read the Karwa Chauth Vrat Katha. They sit in a circle and perform feris, meaning passing the thali in the circle. They offer ark (water) to the sun. They sing and dance to the folk songs and wish each other. All this makes the festival very lively.
After this, the wives then wait for the moon to rise. After the moonrise, the wives worship the moon, and their husbands, wishing for their health and long life. Then they touch the feet of their husband and husbands shower their wives with gifts. The husbands offer water to their wives, and that’s how the fast is broken. After this, all enjoy the dinner together with love and affection.
Special thing about Karwa Chauth:
On this day, there is one more special feature related to the moon. On the night of Karwa Chauth, the moon looks red. Though many people relate it with faith, in reality, there is a scientific reason behind this. The moon is not red but looks red due to a scientific phenomenon called Rayleigh scattering. This is the same phenomenon, which is responsible for making sunrises and sunsets colouful and making the sky look blue.
In the year 2021, the festival of Karwa Chauth will be celebrated on Sunday, 24th October across India.
Karwa Chauth is a very important festival celebrated by Hindu married ladies. This festival has a very special place in the life of a husband and wife. The wives fast for a whole day, without eating anything, not even water. They observe this difficult task to pray to god for the good health and life of their husbands. This festival rekindles the love between a husband and his wife.
Q. 1: In which states is Karwa Chauth more popular?
Ans: Karwa Chauth is more popular in states Northern and Central India, especially Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and even Maharashtra.
Q. 2: What is sargi?
Ans: Quite popular in Punjab, sargi is a pre-dawn meal taken by the fasting ladies. The meal is prepared by her mother-in-law.
Q. 3: Who is worshipped during Karwa Chauth Pooja?
Ans: During Karwa Chauth Pooja, married ladies worship Goddess Parvati, followed by Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesha, and Lord Kartikeya.
Q. 4: Why does moon look red on Karwa Chauth?
Ans: On Karwa Chauth, the moon looks red due to a scientific phenomenon called Rayleigh scattering.
Q. 5: When will Karwa Chauth be celebrated in 2021?
Ans: In 2021, Karwa Chauth will be celebrated on Sunday, 24th October.