Karva Chauth- How and Why

Karva Chauth, contrary to popular belief, is miles away from being filmy. πŸ™‚

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It is one of the most awaited and largely celebrated festivals among the women in Northern India.

So what is the deal with this festival? Here is a ready reckoner on KC \m/

When- The calculation of the date of Karva Chauth in 2012 is on the basis of the traditional Hindu calendar. Generally, Karva Chauth falls about nine days prior to Deepavali as Kartik Chauth somewhere in October and November.

Who- Karva Chauth is a fast kept by married women from Sunrise to moon rise who offer prayers seeking the longevity, prosperity and well being of their husband.

Story- Source: Wiki

A beautiful queen called Veervati was the only sister of seven loving brothers. She spent her first Karva Chauth as a married woman at her parents’ house. She began a strict fast after sunrise but, by evening, was desperately waiting for the moonrise as she suffered severe thirst and hunger. Her seven brothers couldn’t bear to see their sister in such distress and created a mirror in a pipal tree that made it look as though the moon had risen. The sister mistook it for the moon and broke her fast. The moment she ate, word arrived that her husband, the king, was dead. Heartbroken, she wept through the night until her shakti compelled a Goddess to appear and ask why she cried. When the queen explained her distress, the Goddess revealed how the queen had been tricked by her brothers and instructed her to repeat the Karva Chauth fast with complete devotion. When Veervati repeated the fast, Yama was forced to restore her husband to life.

In a variant of this story, the brothers build a massive fire behind a mountain instead and trick their sister by convincing her that the glow is the moon. She breaks her fast and word arrives that her beloved husband has died. She immediately begins running to her husband’s house, which is somewhat distant, and is intercepted by Shiv-Parvati. Parvati reveals the trickery to her, cuts her own little finger to give the wife a few drops of her holy blood, and instructs her to be careful in keeping the complete fast in the future. The wife sprinkles Parvati’s blood on her dead husband and, coming back to life, they are reunited.

Preparation-

  • It starts days in advance when women indulge in buying clothes, gifts, cosmetics, jewelry and puja stuff.
  • They put mehndi on their hand and/or feet.
  • This is a strict fast where women abstain from food and water. Also one needs to follow the same ritual as they do on their 1st Karva Chauth.
  • They wake up at 4am, take a shower, get dressed in some color preferably red or pink.
  • They are supposed to put sindoor, bindi, wear jewelry and most women change toe rings on this day.
  • They eat something before the sunrise and drink some water. This is called Sargi. It comes from the Mother In law. Usually it is Pheni, matthi, dry fruits and the kind.
  • Before the sun set, women gather for the puja. Here the women wear finest of clothes and jewelry. The puja thali is exchanged by women sitting in a circle 7 times.
    The eldest lady of the group is the one who recites the story. Cow dung is used to create Goddess Parvati.
  • The woman observing fast takes out bayna for the mother in law. One may give dry fruits, clothes or anything one pleases. This is placed with the puja thali.
  • In the thali there are 2-3 fruits, a pot of water and a diya made of wheat dough.
  • When the moon rises, women place the diya in a sieve and see the moon with it and then see the husbands face. Then feed some sweet and water to the moon. The husband then feeds some water and sweet to the wife, in turn wife touches his feet and receives a gift. πŸ™‚
    The fast is then considered complete.

This being my first karva chauth there were a lot of things I had to take care of. Since I had to ask a lot of people for all this, so penning it here shall help someone sometime I am sure.
I am a punjabi girl married into a Gujarati family. This fast is not observed in their side. However Neemda teej is their version of KC.

Ladies please remember these things πŸ™‚

  • Wear something pink/red in the morning for the sargi.
  • Keep a thali, channi/sieve and lota [avoidable in case you use the earthen karva] separately. Dont use it for any other purpose.
  • The puja thali is given to the mother in law after the puja and she returns it to you with her blessings.
  • You must not use scissors and needles on the day of observing the fast.
  • Most women wear their bridal attire for the puja. However do cover your head with the chunni you get in the wedding.
  • The bayna for the mother in law that you take out on the 1st KC shall be the one you will be taking out every year.
  • After the puja aka around late evening, do take some tea/sip of water/juice as you please as in the coming years specially pregnancy time this shall come in handy. Remember there is NO harm in doing so.
  • My mom asked me to put 10 steel glasses filled with rice along with 2 glass bangles and a bindi packet in the puja. These shall be given as a gift to 10 married women.
  • Try not to wear anything blue/brown/white/black.

Dinner:
Generally a feast is prepared for the family which can be pooris, halwa, subzi, chole etc.

Tips to not think about food or water:

  • Remember what you are doing this for. No matter how advanced your career is, this is something to be done with all your heart without an iota of doubt or cribbing about the fact that this is a bygone ritual.
  • Have girl friends around, if not physically, then atleast on call/texts/BBM’s. [Love ya Sheelu, Suddu, Neha and Khushi :* ]
  • Keep yourself occupied.
  • Indulge in a spa or parlor if you are not at work.
  • If you are at work, just keep doing your bit but little consciously. πŸ™‚ Also dont be afraid to dress up for the event. You can wear whatever you want and still do the work that is expected.

I shall be making Gobi-Aalu-matarΒ  Ki subzi and pooris. On I love my in laws for being supportive and trying to help even though they don’t celebrate the function. The pati dropped me at work today so that I didnt have drive atleast 1 way and has promised to come early as well. πŸ™‚

I hope I have no missed anything important πŸ™‚ If I did then please write to me, I shall include it.

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