Indian Hindu Festival - Karva Chauth (2016) - A Festival Of Hindu Married Women
Karva Chauth Date 2016
Karva Chauth this year is on 19th October 2016.
About Kar va Chauth
Karva Chauth is a one day ritual that is observed by married Hindu women and some Sikh women, which they observe for the safety and long life of their husband. Today, it has become a practice for even women and girls who are engaged observe Karva Chauth. Even unmarried girls are observing this ritual so that they can get a good husband.
The celebration of this ritual involves keeping a full day fast, from sunrise to moonrise. The fast is broken only after the moon is seen by those fasting.
Kar va is the word for a diya or an earthern lamp and chauth means fourth and it refers to the festival falling on the fourth day of the dark fortnight (called krishna paksh in Hindi) of the month of Kartik.
The festival comes nine days before Diwali and on the fourth day of the new moon immediately after Dussehra in the month of October or November.
The date of the Karva Chauth festival is derived from the lunar calendar like the dates for all Hindu festivals.
Kar va Chauth is celebrated primarily in the states of Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat in India but is also celebrated by Hindu married women whichever state they may be living in.
Rituals During Karva Chauth
Preparations for this festival begin some days before the actual day. Women buy cosmetics, jewellery, clothes and items for puja like karva (earthern lamps), henna and the decorated puja thali (plate).
The dresses or clothes worn on this day are traditionally Indian and are mainly in colors of red, pink, orange and gold since these colors are considered auspicious colors. Henna in various intricate designs is applied on the hands, forearms and feet.
Women get up early in the morning before sunrise and have a bath and wear new clothes. Then, fruits, sweets, feni in sweet milk are consumed. It is a practice to eat and drink before the sun rises on this day. Interestingly many husbands and children too get up and join in partaking of sargi (the food that is consumed on this day at this time). I have been one of those who participated when my mom used to keep this fast.
No food or drink, not even water, is consumed during the day, by those fasting. Also doing any work, even household work is avoided on this day. It is a practice to go and meet friends and relatives.
Images During Karva Chauth Story TellingClick thumbnail to view full-size
Video On Karva Rituals
In the evening, women sit together with their puja thalis and sing traditional songs collectively. The story of Karva Chauth is narrated usually by an older woman or a priest if there is one sitting in the center while the women sit around in a circle. In between pauses, the puja thalis are passed around by the women sitting in a circle.
The Kar va Chauth story is associated with several tales of women whi went to the extent of even sacrificing their life to save their husband's life.
On the completion of this ritual, these women wait for the moon to rise. They are not supposed to look at the moon so this is conveyed to them and it is customary for the woman on fast to view its reflection in a vessel filled with water but through a sieve or a fine cloth, usually a dupatta. The husband this while is close by. Then she offers water to the moon and prays for her husbands long life.
The woman then views her husband's face through the sieve or dupatta. Now the husband offers her a sip of water from the thali and then proceeds to give her the day's first morsel of food which is usually is in a sweet form. With this the fast is broken and then a complete meal is taken,
Husbands on this occasion gift their wives new clothes or jewellery. Men are not supposed to keep the Kar va Chauth fast.
Legends Associated With Karva Chauth
- Legend Of Kar va
Kar va was a very devoted wife. because of her intense devotion she developed spiritual powers. Once when her husband was having bath in the river a crocodile caught him. Karva bound the crocodile with cotton yarn and asked Yama, the God of death to send the coocodile to hell.
When Yama refused to do so, Kar va threatened to curse him. Fearful of the effective and destructive curse of a devoted wife, Yama sent the crocodile to hell and blessed Karva's husband with a long life.
- Story Of Satyavan And Savitri
When Yama came to take away Satyavan, savitri his wife pleaded with Yama not to take his life. When Yama refused she stopped eating and drinking and started following Yama who was carrying her dead husband. Yama asked her to ask for any boon other than bringing her husband back to life.
Savitri then asked to be blessed ith children. Yama agreed. As Savitri was a devoted wife, Yama had no choice but to restore Satyavan to life as Savithri would not allow any other man to be the father of her children.
- Story Of Queen Veervati
Queen Veervati had 7 brothers. Her first Karva Chauth after her marriage was at her parent's home. She started her fast but by evening she felt very thirsty and hungry. Her brothers could not bear to see their sister in distress. so they managed to trick her into believing that the moon had risen. As soon as Veervati broke her fast than she got the news that her husband, the king was dead.
Grief stricken she wept through the night. Seeing her plight, a Goddess appeared and asked her the reason for her grief. When Veervati explained the Goddess told her that she had been tricked by her brothers and asked her to repeat the Karva Chauth fast with full devotion.
When Veervati completed the fast successfully Yama the God of death restored her husband to life.
Karva Chauth In Mahabharata
When Pandavas faced many problems Draupadi their wife was advised by Lord Krishna to keep Kar va Chauth fast observing all rituals. When she did this, the problems the Pandavas faced were resolved.
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