Karva Chauth is most important festival for all married women. It is a one day long festival celebrated every year by the Hindu women especially in the North India. A woman gets fast for whole day which starts from the sunrise in the early morning and ends at moon-rise in the late evening or sometimes late night. She keeps a very hard fast for whole day without water and food for the safety and long life of their husbands.
Earlier it was a traditional festival which was observed especially in the Indian states of Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, some parts of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Punjab however, now a day it is being celebrated in almost every regions of the India by all women. According to the Hindu lunisolar calendar, the festival of Karva Chauth falls in the month of Kartik (in the October or November) on the 4th day after the full moon day. The fast of Karva Chauth is also kept by the some unmarried women according to their custom and tradition for the longevity of their fiances or desired husbands in the future.
It is most similar to other festivals like Haritalika Teej (celebrated every year by the women for their husbands long life and wellness especially in UP) and Chhath (celebrated annually by the women for the same reason especially in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and other regions of India.
Karva Chauth 2018
Karwa Chauth would be celebrated by the women all over the India as well as abroad in 2018 on 28th of October, at Sunday.
Karwa Chauth Pooja Muhurat 2018
Karwa Chauth Muhurat is the exact duration of time within which puja can be performed. The whole duration for Karwa Chauth Pooja on 28th of October is 1 hour and 18 mins.
- The timing of Karwa Chauth puja would start at 5.36 PM.
- The timing of Karwa Chauth puja would end at: 6:54 PM.
Moonrise Time on Karwa Chauth 2018
The timing of moon rise on the day of Karwa Chauth will be at: 8:30 PM. The timing of the moon rise on the day of Karwa Chauth is of great importance for all women getting fast for whole day (even without water) for the long life of their husband. They can drink water only after seeing the rising full moon. Without seeing a moon, it is considered that the fast is incomplete and no women can drink water or eat anything. Karwa Chauth fast is considered as complete only when a woman sees a rising full moon with chalani having lighting ghee diya, gives Arghya to moon, and drinks water by the hand of her husband.
Karwa Chauth Fast
Karwa Chauth festival is very happily celebrated every year by the women by keeping whole day fast in the Krishna Paksha at Chaturthi in the month of Kartik. It is being celebrated in almost all the states of India on the same date. It falls every year in the month of October or November on the fourth day of the full moon means Purnima according to the Hindu calendar.
It is a great ritual of keep fasting on the day of Karwa Chauth during which a married woman keeps fast for whole day and do puja of Lord Ganesha for the wellness and long life of her husband. Especially, it is the festival of married women however in some Indian regions; it is a tradition of keeping fast by the unmarried women too for their future husband. At this day a married women keeps whole day fast, worship Lord Shiva and His family in the evening and break her fast in the late evening or night only after seeing the rising moon. Karwa Chauth fasting is very hard and there is a strict discipline that no women should take any food or water from the sunrise till moonrise in the night.
It is also called as the Karak Chaturthi (Karwa or Karak means an earthen pot using which a woman gives Arghya to the moon). There is also a tradition of giving some Dan and Dakshina to the Brahmin or other married woman. It is highly popular in the North Indian states than other regions of the country. There is another fasting festival for the son named as Ahoi Ashtami Vrat which falls just after four days of the Karwa Chauth.
Karwa Chauth Origin and Story
The meaning of the Karwa Chauth is fasting and giving Argya to the moon using karva (an earthen pot) on the Chaturthi of the Krishna Paksha of Kartik month. Karwa Chauth falls every year on the fourth day of the dark fortnight. The celebration of the Karwa Chauth festival by the women in the north-western part of Indian subcontinent is still unclear however there are some reasons exist of celebrating it. It is considered that women prays to God for their husbands wellness and long life when they are out of home at their duty or other hard campaigns like Indian soldiers, policemen, military and so many. Indian soldiers perform very hard duty out of their home for the safety of whole country at the border. They have to perform their duty in the dried area, cross numerous rivers, bear monsoon season and so many challenges. So, their wives pray to God for the safety, longevity and wellness of their husbands.
Women keeps fast without eating food and even drinking a drop of water for whole day for the safety of their husbands whenever they are at their mission away from home. The festival occurs during the time of wheat-sowing means at the starting of Rabi crop cycle. A woman do puja by filling the big earthen pot (Karva) with the wheat grains and pray to God for the good harvest in that season especially in the wheat-eating regions.
Another story behind celebrating the Karwa Chauth by the women is for themselves. A long ago, when girls were getting married in their teenage or more early at 10, 12 or 13 years, they have go with their husband and in-laws far away from their own house of parents. She had to manage all the household, works, in-laws works as well as outside the home in the fields. She was just like a full time servant in the home of her in-laws. She had to take everyone’s responsibility own. In such cases if she feels alone or have some problems because of the in-laws, she had no option like go back to home, relative, friends, etc. There was tradition in earlier days that once bride come to groom’s home, she would not go to her own house to parents for long or only one or two times in life time.
In order to resolve such problems or loneliness women started celebrating Karwa Chauth in the month of Kartik at Chaturthi to make God-friends or God-sisters (other married women of the village) in the same village they married. They get together at this event, talk, discuss good and bad moments, laugh, decorate themselves and many more activities just like a new bride in order to rememorize themselves. In that way, they never felt alone and sad. On the day of Karwa Chauth they bought Karva and do puja by getting together. They also gift some married women’s goods (like bangles, bindi, ribbons, lipsticks, earrings, nail polishes, sindoor, home-made candies, sweets, make-up items, small clothes and other goods.) to other married women in order to enjoy and maintain the feeling of someone is there for them. So, earlier Karva Chauth celebration was started as a festival to enjoy and strengthen the special bond between god-sisters and god-friends.
The concept of keeping fast and do puja for the husbands at Karwa Chauth came much later as a secondary process. Later, lots of mythical tales and stories came in order to enhance the meaning of celebrating this festival. Fasting, worshipping and decorating by the women bring lots of happiness, confidence and renovation into the relationship of husbands and wives. It also strengthens the relationship between husband and wives just like newly married couple. Husbands go closer to their wife emotionally and try to never hurt her like a true friend. In this way a woman win the trust and love of her husband through emotional attachment. She keeps fast without food and a drop of water for whole day, decorate herself like a new bride and do pooja for the safety and wellness of her husband as husband is the only care taker of her for whole life in the home of her in-laws.
Karwa Chauth Rituals
As Karva Chauth celebration date comes near, married women become so happy and starts the preparation of celebration few days before in advance. They eagerly wait for this date with lots of courage and happiness. This festival is a lot more than the festival of Diwali for them. They buy everything new like cosmetics (also called shringar ka saman), traditional adornments, jewelleries, saree, sandle, earrings, bangles, neckless, nail polish, bindi, puja items, Karva lamps, henna, matthi, puja thali, etc from the local bazaar. Few days before the celebration, market gives a festive look as shopkeepers starts decorating their shops to sell more goods of puja or decoration.
At some places (like Punjab) women awake in the early morning (before 4 AM) to eat something and drink water before the sunrise as they have to keep fast for whole day long till moon-rise. At other place in Uttar Pradesh, it is a ritual to eat some soot feni with the milk and sugar in the evening on a day earlier to the festival in order to keep their body without water and food on the next day. It is important for them to eat fenia in a pre-dawn meal.
There is a ritual of sargi in the Punjab. Sargi is a collection of decorative goods for married woman, sweets and other eatable things which are given by the mother-in-law to her daughter-in-law every year on the occasion of Karwa Chauth. It is a ritual that when a newly married bride keeps her first time Karwa Chauth fast, she has to follow her mother-in-law. Means the way she is told by her mother-in-law first time, she has to follow all that for whole life. If she is told by her mother-in-law to drink water or drink tea or juice or some other ways during the fast time, she can follow that throughout her life. It is also the ritual of preparing a pre-dawn meal having fenia (it is a form of vermicelli used in the seviyan and falooda however fenia is much thinner than seviyan) by the mother-in-law for her daughter-in-law.
The fast begins from the early morning when sun rises. Women apply henna to their hair, hand and legs. They pass their whole day with friends and relatives, enjoy a lot and laugh. They exchange some painted clay pots (Karva) which are filled with the bangles, bindi, ribbons, sweets, home-made candies, cosmetic goods, handkerchiefs, etc among their married friends and relatives. Married women also get some gifts from their Parents and husband.
In the evening, they take bath, get prepared in full make-up and well dressed and get together with the community women to participate in the ceremony. They do puja with lots of preparations, hear Karwa Chauth katha, sing songs, etc. The women, who kept fast, sit in the circle by having puja thali depending on their culture and tradition. In UP and Rajasthan, one of them (mostly an eldest woman or a priest) narrates a story of Karva Chauth Vrat (Gauri, Ganesh and Shankar), and then they sing Karva Chauth puja song by performing feris (means passing their thalis to one another in the circle) seven times. There are some restrictions which should be followed by the women having fast such as weaving cloths, pleading someone, please a person, awakening someone sleeping (suthra jagayeen naa).
They do total seven feris, in the first six feris they sing like: “Veero kudiye Karvara, Sarv suhagan Karvara, Aye katti naya teri naa, Kumbh chrakhra feri naa, Aar pair payeen naa, Ruthda maniyen naa, Suthra jagayeen naa, Ve veero kuriye Karvara, Ve sarv suhagan Karvara” whereas in the seventh feri: “Veero kudiye Karvara, Sarv suhagan Karvara, Aye katti naya teri nee, Kumbh chrakhra feri bhee, Aar pair payeen bhee, Ruthda maniyen bhee, Suthra jagayeen bhee, Ve veero kuriye Karvara, Ve sarv suhagan Karvara”.
There is another ritual in the Rajasthan, a fasting woman is asked by another woman that “Dhapi ki Ni Dhapi?” (means she is satiated or not?), she responds that “Jal se Dhapi, Suhaag se na Dhapi” (I am satisfied by water not by husband). In other regions of Uttar Pradesh, there is different ritual of worshiping “gaur mata” the earth. Women take little soil, sprinkle water on it and place some kumkum over it and treat this as an idol means a fertile Mother, the Earth.
They also sing like “Sadaa suhagan karve lo, Pati ki pyari karve lo, Saat bhaiyon ke behen karve lo, Vart karni karve lo, Saas ki pyaari karve lo” while exchanging their karva thali. After pooja, they offer some Prasad (also called baayna) like halwa, puri, mathri, namkeen, sweets, meethi mathri, etc to the idols and then give their pooja thali to the mother-in-law or sister-in-law.
After the pooja ceremony, women start waiting for the rising moon so that they can drink some water and eat something. Once the moon gets visible in the sky all fasting woman go outside or top floor with her husband to see the moon with chalani or its reflection in the water filled vessel. They offer Arghya to the moon to get blessings and then turn to their husband to see in the same way as moon. They also pray for the long life, wellness and safety of their husbands forever.
Now it is the time for all Suhagan to break the fast by having some sweets and water by the hand of husband. At the end, husband takes a glass of water and sweet from the pooja thali and let her wife to drink a first sip of water after a long day with his hand. After breaking fast, a woman can have her complete meal in the night.
Modern Culture and Tradition of Karwa Chauth
Now a day, in the North Indian society the culture and tradition of the Karva Chauth has been changed and started celebrating as a romantic festival. It has become a festival of symbolizing the love and affection between the couple. It is getting celebrated in the Bollywood style everywhere by getting inspired through the movies like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Khabhi Khushi Khabhi Gam, etc. Somewhere, unmarried women too show their love and care to their fiances or future husbands by keeping whole day fast for them. It has become the festival of renovating the relationship of the couple through the emotional and romantic attachment. As the festival date comes near, lots of advertising campaigns starts showing on TV, radio, etc for enhancing their turnover in the market.
At the Karva Chauth, everyone like children and husband including especially fasting woman gets well dressed in new clothes and celebrate together. It has become the famous family observance and everyone enjoy till moonrise. Some couples with their children go outside in the restaurant and hotels to have delicious dinner instead of eating at home after the moonrise ceremony in order to get change something in their daily routine of busy life. Husbands are expected a lot to take of their fasting wives for whole day.
It is being criticized by someone however some people have called this as a festival of empowering the women because at Karva Chauth woman generally quit their housework completely for the whole day and live life away from the daily hectic life. They feel relief and get gifts from their husbands which make them happy emotionally, physically and intellectually. It is considered that household works and all family member’s responsibilities are the greatest barrier to the woman empowerment. However, the concept of fasting is highly opposes by the Sikh doctrine as they think that fasting has no any spiritual or religious benefits, it can only be kept for the health reasons.
Significance and Legends of Karwa Chauth Celebration
There are many legends, traditional tales and stories associated behind celebrating the Karwa Chauth every year by the women. Some of are mentioned below:
- Once, there was a beautiful princess named Veervati. She was the one and only loving sister of her seven brothers. She got married and living at her parents’ home during her first Karwa Chauth fast. She had started her fast from the early morning sunrise. She had spent her whole day very successfully however in the evening she eagerly started waiting for the moonrise as she was suffering from severe hunger and thirst. As it was her first Karwa Chauth fast, such distressful condition of her was unbearable by her brothers as they love her too much. They tried lots of ways to convince her to eat and drink food without seeing moon however she denied. Then they had created a false resemblance of the rising moon by having a mirror on the top of the Pipal tree and told her sister that moon had risen. She was very innocent and followed her brothers. By mistake she saw the false moon, gave Arghya and broke her fast. Soon after she broke her fast, she got message of death of her husband. She started weeping loudly and then told by her sister-in-laws that she has broke her fast by seeing false moon as your brothers were very distress of seeing your condition of hungry and thirsty. She got her heartbroken and wept too much, soon Goddess Shakti appeared in front of her and ask her why you are crying. She had explained whole process and then instructed by the Goddess that she should repeat her Karva Chauth fast with her complete devotion. Soon after her fast completion, Yamaraj was forced to give the life of her husband back to him.
- Somewhere it is believed that the brothers of the queen Veervati were build a huge fire (to show their sister a false moon) just behind the mountain instead of creating a false moon by keeping a mirror on the top of Pipal tree. They convinced their sister by anyways about the glowing false moon (a huge fire behind mountain). She then breaks her fast by seeing false moon of huge fire and got message that she had lost her husband. She run towards her husband’s house however in the mid way, Shiva-Parvati appeared to her and told all the trickery of her brothers. She was then instructed by the Goddess to complete her fast again very carefully. She did so and got her husband back.
- Another story behind celebrating this festival is the history of Satyavan and Savitri. Once, Yama reached to Satyavan to get his life forever. When Savitri know about that, she begged Yama for granting the life of her husband but Yama refused. She started following the way of Yama without eating food and drinking water in order to get back the life of her dead husband. She was asked by the Yama to beg another boon instead her husband. She was very clever and told Yama that she was a pati-vrata nari and want to be blessed to have children from her loving husband. Yama was forced to be agree from her statement and blessed her with the long life of her husband.
- Once there was a woman with name Karva, who was highly devoted to her husband which was the reason of providing her great spiritual power. Once, the husband of Karva was bathing in the river and then suddenly caught by a crocodile. She used a cotton yarn to bind the crocodile and said to Yama to hell the crocodile. Yama refused to do so however he was forced to do so as he was threatened to get curse by a Pati-vrata nari, Karva. After doing so, Yama blessed her with the long life of her husband. From that day, the festival of Karva Chauth was started celebrating by the women with faith and belief to get long life of their husbands by the God.
- Legend of Mahabharata is another story behind celebrating this Karwa Chauth festival. A long ago, during the Mahabharata time, Pandavas including Draupadi had faced many problems in the absence of Arjun as he went away from them for penance to the Nilgiris. Draupadi prayed to God Lord Krishna to get some help then she was reminded by the God about one of the earlier occasions of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva. She too was advised to complete the fast of Karva Chauth in the same way. She had completed the fast by following all the instructions dedicatedly with all rituals. Soon after her fast completion, Pandavas got free of all problems.
First Karwa Chauth
The festival of Karva Chauth is of great importance for the newly married Hindu women. It is the big occasion for her in the home of her husband after marriage. She and her in-laws do lots of preparations some days before the occurrence of Karva Chauth. She gets decorated by wearing everything new just like getting married again to the same husband. Everyone (friends, family members, relatives and neighbours) gets together at one place to celebrate it like Diwali. She is showered with lots of blessings and gifts by the husband, friends, family members, relatives and neighbours for the wellness of her married life.
She gets her first Sargi at her first Karwa Chauth from her mother-in-law. A first Sargi includes decorative materials, pre-dawn Karva Chauth meal and other things with lots of love and blessings for happiful life. She touches the feet of elders of family and relatives to get blessings.
There is also a tradition of giving first Baya. It is a collection of dry-fruits, gifts, salted and sweetened mathris, sweets, clothes, utensils, etc which are given by the mother of daughter to her mother-in-law and other family members. It is very special for a daughter which she waits very eagerly during her first Karwa Chauth. The first Baya is then distributed amongst family members, relatives and neighbours after the completion of Karva Chauth Puja.
Finally, a newly married bride gets a very special gift from her Husband after the moonrise ceremony at dinner. At this day the bond of love increases and strengthens between them as husband feels very proud about her dearest wife because of the hard fast for him. He gives lots of love and respect to her wife and makes her happy with lots of care and Karva Chauth gifts. At this day he takes her wife out of the home at some interesting place to fully enjoy and eat delicious dinner so that she can be free from all the household works and responsibilities for at least one day a year.
Karwa Chauth Vrat Vidhi
Karwa Chauth vrat is also known as the Karak Chaturthi vrat which is most important for married women especially in the regions of Panjab, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and UP. It falls at fourth day in the Krishna Paksha of Kartik month. During this fast, women worship Goddess Parwati and God Ganesha and Moon. It is a fast without water means “Nirjala Vrat” however some women (having pregnancy or health problems) can keep this fast by having milk, fruit, mewa, khoya, etc. This vrat needs heartily dedication, trust and confidence towards God including complete pooja process. Rice kheer, Pua, dahibada, chana dal puri, gur halwa, etc is prepared to offer to the God and Goddess. Puja should be done by facing mouth towards East direction and God Goddess statue face towards West direction. It is considered that giving Dan of the Karak at this day brings lots of comfort, safety, long life of husband, Lakshmi and son to the home as well as other willing of the worshiper. It is also considered that the purpose of this fast only completes when a woman gives Dan of Karak and Arghya to the moon.
Karwa Chauth Vrat Katha
Hearing Karwa Cauth Katha is of great importance for all the women keeping fast on the festival of Karwa Chauth. Without listening the katha, it is considered that the fast is not complete. There are many stories of the Karwa Chauth from which one of them is necessary to listen by the married women during fast and pooja ceremony. Some of the Vrat katha and stories are mentioned under the heading “significance and legends of karwa Chauth celebration”.
Karwa Chauth Puja Process
A married woman does lots of preparations a day before the Karwa Chauth as she has to keep fast on the next day without taking food and water. She eats something and drinks water in the early morning before the sunrise as she has to spent whole day without taking anything. From morning till afternoon she involves in lots of festive activities like applying heena on her hand and leg to decorate herself, she decorates pooja thali (having sindoor, flowers, incense sticks, rice grains, ghee diya, dhoop batti, and other pooja materials) and meets with her friends and relatives.
Before starting puja, following pooja samagri needs to be collected: statue of Lord ganesha, Ma Ambika Gauri, Shri Nandishwar, Mata Parwati, God Shiv Ji and Shri Kartikaya. Pooja materials (like Karwa or metal pot, Dhoop, deep, kapoor, sindoor, ghee diya, roli, chandan, kajal, fruit, mewa, sweets, flowers and match box) are also need to be collected.
In the evening, she takes bath, get prepared and go to her neighbours and friends to hear the Karwa Chauth Katha. Married women of the community or society gets together at a common place such as garden, temple or someone’s home, etc and do arrangement of pooja. One of the elder ladies starts narrating the story of Karwa Chauth. There keep in the centre a special earthen pot (which is considered as the symbol of Lord Ganesha) filled with wheat grain, a metal pot filled with water, some flowers, idols of Mata Parwati, Ambika Gaur Mata, sweets, mathi, fruits and food grains. Small part of all the offerings is offered to the Goddess and storyteller.
Earlier, it was a ritual of making Gaur Mata idol using soil and cow-dung however these days, women puts metal or paper idol of the Goddess Parwati. All the women lit earthen lamp in the thali before listening to the Katha or story. Women wear colourful sarees and cover themselves with the red or pink chunary of their marriage. They sing pooja songs and do prayer to God and Goddess for blessings. They move their pooja thalis to each other in the circle for seven times and sing songs. Once pooja has completed, everyone goes to their home with their pooja thalis and touches feet of elders in the family, neighbours and relatives to get blessings.
Moon Rise Ceremony
Women starts preparing their pooja thalis for the moon rise ceremony. Pooja thali contains ghee diya, rice grains, water filled pot, match box, sweets, a glass of water and a chalani. Once moon rises in the sky, women come out of their homes to see the moon. First of all they perform Arghya to the moon, through rice grains towards moon and see moon from chalani by having ghee diya under it. They pray to the moon for the prosperity, safety and long life of their husbands. After completing the moon ceremony, they touches the feet of their husbands, mother-in-laws and other elders of the family to get blessings for being “Sada Suhagan” and happiful life. Somewhere there is a ritual of seeing only moon reflection from the thali having water instead of directly seeing the moon. After touching feet, husbands let them eat some sweets and drink water from own hand to their wives.
Karwa Chauth Gifts
Lots of Karwa Chauth gifts are given to the women who keep fast especially women at their first Karwa Chauth Vrat by their husbands, mother, mother-in-law and other family members, relatives and friends. It is considered that Karwa Chauth is very tough fast as one has to spent whole day without water and food. It is the golden chance for every married woman to keep fast for their husbands and get some beautiful and expensive gifts like jeweleries, bangles, sarees, lehnga, frock suit, new clothes, and sweets including other traditional gifts. Woman gets lot of love and affection including with the memorable gifts which makes her happy as well as strengthen her relationship with husband.