ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What is Karwa Chauth (Karva Chauth)?

Updated on September 19, 2013
stayingalivemoma profile image

Valerie is pursuing a degree in Creative Writing and enjoys cooking, medical topics, flash fiction, fashion, culture and politics.

Karwa Chauth (or Karva Chauth) is actually a festival that is celebrated for one day by married Hindu and Sikh women. It is a well known and widely practiced ritual in the Northern and Western regions of India. The ritual consists of the woman fasting for an entire day – with no food or water – while they offer prayers for their husbands.

This day is much anticipated as it comes just 9 days before the Diwali celebrations, which are the festival of lights.

The date that coincides with Karwa Chauth is not pulled out of a hat. It falls after the new moon, on the 4th day, which is “kartik ki chauth” translated. The time frame for this is usually sometime between October and November.

Learn the Lingo

Hindu word
Definition
Tikka
A head ornament that hangs from the center part of the forehead
Bindi
A red dot, usually with adhesive that is placed in the center of a woman's forehead to symbolize that she is married
Chalni
A sieve that is used to view the moon through during Karwa Chauth
Thali
Typically a plate that is used for rituals and special occasions
Jhoomar
A jewelled hair ornament worn on the side of the head

The festival name, Karwa Chauth(or Karva Chauth) literally means:

Karwa (Karva) = Clay Pot with spout

Chauth = on the 4th day

The Karwa (Karva) is a necessary part of the festival and symbolizes prosperity, longevity and peace for the marriage.

What Happens (Ritual)

Women who are married participate by fasting, starting before the sun comes up and lasting all day into the night when they catch sight of the moon. (Some regions in India celebrate with a 24-hour fast – starting the night before when they see the moon and lasting into the next night when they see the moon again.)

The fast is very strict, not even water is allowed. While they fast, they offer prayers to Shiva and Parvati. The ritual prayers consist of asking for long life and good health for their husbands, as well as prosperity in the marriage.

For the women, it is a joyous time. They dress up in “wedding attire” similar to when they were married. These are usually elaborate saris, but they may also wear bridal lehengas. Since red is the color synonymous with marriage in the Hindu culture, it is most often worn. However, women may choose any color or style they wish with more modern women wearing orange, blue, purple and gold. It’s really up to the participant.

Next, they adorn themselves with bridal jewelry, mehendi (henna designs), beautiful makeup and of course, their bindi.


Beguiling Red Embroidered Net Saree. Photo courtesy of Cbazaar.com
Beguiling Red Embroidered Net Saree. Photo courtesy of Cbazaar.com

A Decorated Thali

This is an example of a thali, beautifully decorated for Karwa Chauth. There are various foods and sweets that can be put on the decorated thali, but usually it consists of fruits, Sargi, parantha and sweets.

There also needs to be 10 salty snacks, which are called matthis and 10 sweets called puas, and halwa, which is an unleavened flatbread. The eating of these different foods have a special meaning in the traditional ritual.

Example of a Karwa Chauth Thali
Example of a Karwa Chauth Thali | Source
Example of a Kundan Karwa for Karwa Chauth Source:Indian Gift Portal
Example of a Kundan Karwa for Karwa Chauth Source:Indian Gift Portal

Although red is considered the traditional color for weddings, many Indian women are embracing more modern looks and colors such as this beautiful lavender lehenga.

Admirable Stones Decked Net Saree. Photo courtesy of Cbazaar.com.
Admirable Stones Decked Net Saree. Photo courtesy of Cbazaar.com.

On this festive day, women traditionally participate together in neighborhoods. Usually an older woman will tell the stories that highlight the significance of Karwa Chauth. It is a time of happiness and many women look forward to participating in it.

In the early evening, the puja is conducted by married women. Songs are sung and stories are told until the most anticipated part of the day arrives - the moon rise ritual. It involved waiting for the moon to rise and the woman will take a sieve and view the moon through it. They also may look at the moons' reflection in their thali or a pitcher of water.

Immediately after seeing the moon, they are to look upon their husbands. Then their husbands give the women a sip of water, thus breaking the fast. following that are feasts and husbands giving their wives gifts.


Take the Karwa Chauth Poll!

Do you celebrate Karwa Chauth?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Wow!! Indian customs are so different the color of clothing and in foods are just so creative.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 years ago

      I can see how a holiday like this woud be beneficial to any faith. I pray for my husband daily, but a special day like this would be really meaningful. Lovely clothing and attire in the photo posts.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)