India boasts of an array of significant festivals, of which Karwa Chauth, a Hindu festival, marks one important celebration for the married women. As per the Hindu lunar calendar, the festival falls on the fourth day after the full moon (Purnima), which is Krishna Paksha Chaturthi in the month of Kartik. This year, the festival falls on 17 October.
Married women, especially from northern states of the country like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana, celebrate this day by observing a nirjala fast where they don't consume food or water for the safety and longevity of their husbands.
Unmarried women or women of marriageable age too celebrate this festival for their prospective grooms. Women who observe these fast offer prayers to Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati, and Lord Kartik so that the women would be blessed with a blissful life.
Significance and legend of this day:
A popular legend around this festival is about a woman by the name of Veervati. As per the legend, Veervati was the only sister among seven brothers; hence was the most loved one in the family.
On her first Karwa Chauth, Veervati who celebrated the day at her family’s home followed a strict fast from sunrise but desperately waited for the moon to appear. Seeing her thirsty and hunger-stricken, her brothers couldn't bear any longer and tricked her with a mirror in a pipal tree that made it look like the moon had risen.
As soon as Veervati mistook it as the moon and broke her fast, she got the message of her husband’s death from her servants. Heartbroken, she wept all night long until a goddess appeared in front of her and asked her about her misery. The goddess asked her to observe the Karwa Chauth fast again with dedication and devotion to see her husband alive. Veervati followed her instructions and observed a fast again. Impressed with her dedication, Yama, the god of death, was forced to bring her husband back to life.
How the day is celebrated:
Married women wake up early in the morning (at sunrise) to eat sargi — a meal prepared by their mothers-in-law. After which they stay without water and food all day until they spot the moon in the evening. After the prayers, once the moon is spotted, they offer water to it to seek blessings.
As per rituals, husbands offer water and food to their wives so they break their fast. Women don beautiful traditional attires, wear henna or mehendi, sing songs, and also exchange karwas (clay pots).
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Updated Date: Oct 17, 2019 11:35:10 IST