Karva Chauth is considered as one of the most awaited traditional Indian festival celebrated by married couples that allows them to express their altruistic love for each other. Keeping in mind the enthusiasm and zeal of the bond of love for their husbands, all the married women keep a fast for the safety and wellness of their partners. From sunrise to sunset, she keeps a fast without drinking water and eating food to show their concern and respect in their hearts for their husbands.
In this article, we will discuss the history of the auspicious festival of Karva Chauth along with the stories and tales associated with its importance in Indian culture.
When is Karva Chauth celebrated?
The true meaning of Karva Chauth is shown by offering Argya in an earthen pot to the moon on the Chaturthi of Kartika month. According to the Hindu lunisolar calendar, this festival is celebrated with pomp and show on the fourth day of the dark fortnight in the month of Karthik. This year, Karva Chauth falls on October 17, 2019. It is being celebrated after the nine-day festival of Durga Puja. It is a Hindu festival which is popularly celebrated in north India. Married brides consume a pre-dawn meal which is known as sargi and then fast for the long life of their grooms.
History of Karva Chauth
Although the origin of Karva Chauth is still unknown, there are many anecdotes that show us the true significance and value of this festival in our lives. Some of these tales are mentioned below:
The Tale of Karwa:
There was a beautiful lady naming Karwa who was madly in love with her husband. Her immense love and concern granted her a lot of spiritual powers. Once upon a time, her husband was bathing in a river and the crocodile attacked him and killed her husband. The courageous Karwa then tied the crocodile in cotton yarn and prayed to Lord Yama with her magical powers. Lord Yama was astonished to see such devotion and aspiration and he gave back life to her husband and sent the crocodile to jail.
The pages of Mahabharata:
The significance of the occasion of Karva Chauth is also observed by Draupadi in Mahabharata. Once upon a time, Arjuna went to Nilgiri mountains for self-penance and his brothers were facing a lot of problems and difficulties without him. Watching the misery of her husband, she prayed to Lord Krishna to solve all the challenges and hurdles. Lord Krishna told her the story of Goddess Parvati and told her to perform the Karva Chauth ritual. She strictly followed all the rules of Karva Chauth and after that, the Pandavas were out of trouble.
The story of Queen Veervati:
Once, there was a gorgeous queen namely Veervati who has seven handsome and caring brothers. During one of her Karva Chauth festival, she woke up early and performed all the rituals strictly at her parent’s house. But, in the evening, she was suffering from hunger and thirst and was eagerly waiting for the moon to rise. Her brothers felt so bad to see her sister in pain that they created a Moon on the mirror within the branches of the Pipal tree. Veervati swathes fake Moon and broke her fast. After this, her husband suddenly died and she started crying. Goddess Parvati arrived and told her that she was tricked by her brother’s fake Moon in the mirror. Then, she again performed the whole ritual of Karva Chauth with devotion and dedication and Yama, the lord of death restored the life of her husband.
The Story of Savitri and Satyavan:
It is said that when Yama took the life of Satyavan. Savitri, her wife, begged for her husband’s life. But Yama was quite adamant. Savitri followed Yama and stopped drinking and eating until her husband was back. Yama got impressed by the dedication and devotion and told her to ask for any wish other than her husband’s life. Savitri, being the clever one, demanded a happy family with children. Yama got confused and he had to restore his husband’s life after seeing the loyalty of Savitri. Savitri was then blessed with charming kids.
Karva Chauth Fasting Procedure
On this occasion, all the married women worship Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati for the healthy life and wealth of their husbands. They wear stunning ethnic outfits and adorn themselves with magnificent pieces of jewelry and makeup items such as henna, lipsticks, sindoor, bindi, etc. All these shringar material signifies the true bond of togetherness and the richness of love and cares for her husband. Red color is usually worn on this day as it is the color of love and strengthens the power of marriage. In the morning, all the women eat sargi which is a thali prepared and offered by the mothers-in-law. This thali is supposed to be eaten before the sunrise. The food items in this thali are mentioned below:
Small healthy meal:
Usually, a light savory meal is being offered which includes khichdi, upma, porridge, poha along mathri. This meal suppresses hunger and provides all the essential nutrients which are required to maintain the appetite of the women.
Fresh juicy fruits:
Fruits such as apple, banana, orange, kiwi, grapes, etc. are also consumed as they have high water content which keeps them hydrated till the night.
Walnuts, cashews, pistachios, and almonds are also offered in the thali to add nutritional value to the diet.
Festivals are incomplete without some traditional sweet dish. Seviyan and Pheni halwa re the two most popular sweet dishes consumed in the sargi.
Thus, in the evening, all the women gather together in a group and read the vrat Katha and pray to Lord Shiva for their husband’s well-being. And after that, they wait for the moon to rise and then watch the moon through a sieve and then their husband. The husband breaks her fast by feeding her water and sweets.