Karwa Chauth -A bond of Love
‘Karwa’ the name signifies a clay pot and the word ‘chauth’ corresponds to the fourth. This important ritual takes place on Kartik Krishna Chaturthi of the Hindu calendar. The fast of Karwa Chauth is kept usually 9 days before the festival of Diwali. During this year this Karwa Chauth fast will be observed on 27th October 2018.
The associated legends
As per the legend in the Mahabharata, Arjun had gone for worship to the Nilgiri Hills. Draupadi was struck in the forest with fear believing that she was alone and no one to protect her. In that situation, she then invoked Lord Krishna and due to her devotion, the Lord appeared before her. On hearing her difficult and troublesome story Lord Krishna explained her an example of Goddess Parvati. Once the Goddess Parvati in a similar situation asked Lord Shiva’s help. At that time Lord Shiva explained to her that to get rid of such problematic situation a woman could observe a fast on Kartik Krishna Chaturthi as a remedy.
Also, there is a well-known story of the Satyavan and Savitri. Savitri had an unparalleled love for her husband and she was able to ward off his untimely death. When Lord Yama, came to capture Satyavan’s soul. At that time Savitri begged him to grant him life. She asked for it numerous times but he refused. As a result, she stopped eating and drinking and Yamraj finally melted. He was amazed to see her unconditional love and granted her, her husband’s life.
Rituals Observed on this day
this is a special day ladies observe a day-long fast without having food or a drop of water. They also pray for the prosperity and longevity of their husbands. The fasting ritual of KarvaChauth is the one which signifies utmost love and devotion of a wife to her husband. The fast starts before the sunrise and ends only after seeing the moon on the same day.
In some communities, women have a before sunrise meal. They begin their fast by consuming ‘Sargi’ or food items containing fruits, sweets, coconut, and other organic foods etc. It is given to them by their mother-in-law to eat before sunrise. Later, towards the evening women give ‘Baya’ or a basket containing sweets, fruits and saree meant for mothers-in-law. On this day there is also a dress code. All the married women wear special clothes usually red otherwise pink in color. Dresses like sari/ suit, adorned with jewelry, colorful bangles, bindi and vermilion on the forehead are worn. They also apply various design patterns of henna (Mehendi) on both hands. Then they worship Lord Shiva, Ganesha, Goddess Parvati, Kartikeya and a Kalash or Karwa (an earthen pot made of clay) filled with sweets.
It is also celebrated by the women assembling together. In evening women from neighborhood or friends gather and they all worship Goddess Gauri. An elderly woman of the family or Pandit narrates the story of KarwaChauth after it waits for the moon is done. It happens, women to worship it and see the moon and their husband through the sieve. Then they receive food from their husband’s hands under the moonlight and end the day-long fast.