Karwa Chauth

Karwa Chauth:

India is a land known for its culture. The Indian culture is very unique and lively. One thing that makes our culture so lively and unique is the various festivals that are celebrated in India around the year. These festivals break the mundane routine of life and make our family bonds stronger. Karwa Chauth is one such festival, which strengthens the love between a husband and his wife.

2021 day and date: Sunday, 24 October
What happens: Day long fast by married Hindu women
When celebrated: Chatuthi of the ‘krishna’ paksh of Kartika month
Related to: Good health and long life of their husbands

When is Karwa Chuth Celebrated?

According to the Hindu calendar, Karwa Chauth is celebrated on the Chaturthi of the Month of Kartika, during the ‘krishna’ paksha (waning phase) of the moon. The festival comes four days after the Sharad Purnima, which is actually a day of the full moon. So, Karwa Chauth comes during the waning phase of the moon, which starts from a Purnima (full moon) to the Amavasya (new moon).

Karwa Chauth

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What happens in Karwa Chauth?

Though married ladies across India celebrate this festival, it is very popular among the ladies in Northern and Central India. The festival is celebrated in some parts of Pakistan as well, including cities like Lahore, Multan among others. On this day, the married ladies observe a ‘nirjalaa upvaas’ (fast without water), from sunrise to moonrise, and pray for the health and longevity of their life partner.

Origin of the Karwa Chauth:

The most important aspect of the Karwa Chauth is the ‘karwa’, which is basically a small earthen pot of water. This festival is mostly celebrated in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent, including some parts of Pakistan.

One theory is that in earlier days, when various kings used to fight with one another, their armies had to travel to far-off places and stay away from home for a long time. The soldiers had to leave their wives and kids at home, and go for military campaigns, for long times. The wives of these soldiers would be worried about their life and pray for their safe return. So, they used to fast for their good health and long life.

Since this festival coincides with the sowing of the Rabi season crop, one more logic behind keeping the fast may have been praying to God for a good harvest.

Karwa Chauth

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Legends Behind Karwa Chauth:

There are several legends associated with the festival of Karwa Chauth. There are various folk tales as well. In some narrations, these tales are linked to one another and often provide a background for the other story. Some of the major legends are given below:

  1. Legend of Karwa:

    Once upon a time, there was a lady named Karwa, who loved her husband very much and was very devoted to him. Due to intense love and dedication for her husband, she had acquired spiritual powers. They lived in a village happily. One day, while her husband was taking a bath in a river, a crocodile caught the leg of her husband. When he cried for help, Karwa came to his help and bound the crocodile with cotton yarn and invoked Yama (the god of death) to punish the crocodile by sending him to hell. But, Yama did not agree with her wish. This enraged Karwa, and she threatened to curse the death god and destroy him if he did not accept her wish. Yama realized her spiritual powers and got scared. So, he sent the crocodile to hell and blessed her husband with long life. After this, Karwa enjoyed a happy married for a long time with her husband. To this day, women remember Karwa and her devotion and celebrate the festival with great faith and belief. 

  2. The Story of Queen Veervati:

    Long time ago, there was a beautiful queen, named Veervati. She had seven brothers, and being the only sister, she was loved a lot by all of them. Once it so happened, that she was at her parents’ place during Karwa Chauth. She decided to observe a strict fast, without eating food or water. By evening she was suffering from severe thirst and hunger. She was so desperate that her loving brothers got very disturbed with her state. They decided to do something to take her out of this distress. So, they created a mirror behind a peepal tree that gave the appearance of the moon. The sister, thinking it was the real moon broke her fast. The moment she had the first bite of food, she had a sneeze, and then she got the news of the death of her husband. 

Devastated with this news, she wept the whole night. Suddenly, a Goddess appeared and asked her the reason for crying. When Veervati told her the reason for her sorrow, the Goddess was moved. She revealed how her brothers had tricked her. She suggested Veervati to repeat the Karwa Chauth fast properly. When she repeated the fast, the death god, Yama was forced to give life to her husband. 

Karwa Chauth

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In a different version of the same story, her brothers tricked Veervati by lighting a huge fire behind a mountain to give the impression of moonrise. When she broke her fast, and got the news of her husband’s death, she rushed towards her husband’s palace. On the way, she met Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, who asked her reason for distress. When Veervati told them the whole story, Parvati revealed the truth, how her brothers had tricked her. Goddess Parvati then cut her own little finger and gave few drops of her holy blood to sprinkle on her husband’s dead body. She also instructed her to be careful next time. When Veervati sprinkled her husband’s dead body with the blood of Goddess Parvati, her husband came to life and they were reunited.

  1. Legend of Mahabharata:

    The belief in Karwa Chauth goes ages back. This festival founds a mention even in the ‘Dwapar’ age. This story revolves around Pandavas, which occurred before the war of Mahabharat. Draupadi, the queen of Pandavas is also said to have observed this fast. Once Arjun went to the mountains for penance, and the remaining brothers faced several problems in his absence. It was then, Draupadi remembered Lord Krishna, who appeared before her and advised her to observe the fast of Karwa Chauth. Draupadi observed the fast with full devotion. As a result of which, her husbands were able to get rid of their problems. 

Quick Overview of Karwa Chauth:

As can be seen, by the above stories, the festival of Karwa Chauth holds a lot of significance in Hindu culture. As per Hindu culture, the relation between husband and wife goes beyond births. And this festival makes this bond strong.

Must Read: How to do Karwa Chauth Puja in 2021


FAQs:

Q. 1: When is Karwa Chauth celebrated?
Ans: Karwa Chauth is celebrated on the Chaturthi of the month of Kartika, during the ‘krishna’ paksha (waning phase) of the moon.

Q. 2: What happens in Karwa Chauth?
Ans: On this day, the married ladies observe a ‘nirjalaa upvaas’ (fast without water), from sunrise to moonrise

Q. 3: Why to ladies fast on Karwa Chauth?
Ans: The married ladies fast on Karwa Chauth for the health and longevity of their husbands?

Q. 4: How long is the fast of Karwa Chauth observed?
Ans: The fast of Karwa Chauth is observed from sunrise to moonrise.

Q. 5: What is karwa?
Ans: karwa is a basically a small earthen pot of water, and is an important aspect of this festival.

 

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharad_Purnima

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