For the married women in India, Karva Chauth is one of the most significant festivals. On this occasion, women observe a complete one day fast from sunrise to sunset for a long life, good health and safety of their husbands. This is the festival which is mainly celebrated in the states of northern India.
Nowadays, Karva Chauth has extended to every corner of India and celebrated in almost all the states with slightly different traditions and customs. Karva Chauth begins with women fasting from the very crack of dawn, lasting until the fall of dusk. Those married women then break their fast after seeing the moon by the hands of their husbands. Unmarried women also observe fast for a long life and good health of their would be partners.
The Karva Chauth fast is a rigorous one as the wife does not even have a single drop of water on this day. In the evening, all married women, decked up in gorgeous wedding garments and jewellery, commit themselves to worship. According to customs, the ladies gather and sit in a circle and older women then narrate stories that led to this festival, thereafter they pray to goddess Parvati for their husband’s welfare and marital bliss. Lastly, the women chant and pass their decorated plates around in the circle. After the prayers, women wait for the moon to rise and as the moon rises, they touch the feet of their husbands and offer the decorated plate with fruit and other material. Soon the fast is broken with the husband offering his wife the first sip of water and morsel of food. This is followed by showering of gifts and a sumptuous meal to end with.
In ancient times, a woman was completely dependant on a man whether he be her father, brother, husband or mentor. She considered herself incomplete without the presence of a man. Though times have changed and it may not be the same in today’s modern times. In present times, celebrating Karva Chauth has become more of a trend than a belief because today’s woman is more empowered. Nonetheless, irrespective of whatsoever reason, observing this festival deepens the relationship between the wife and husband.
What’s unique about this festival? The real charm of this festival is the wife’s selfless and undaunted love for her husband. All respect to the resilient spirit of women!