Celebrating Karwa Chauth, History Behind The Reason

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Kolkata: Pretty much sure that you’re looking forward to dressing up and being part of the celebrations on Sunday for your much awaited day – Karwa Chauth. Definitely your husband has cancelled a couple of meetings or put off some work so that you can be fed water by him as soon as the moon rises, thus breaking your day-long fast.

There are a number of fasts Hindu women keep to sustain the long lives of their loved ones. Karwa Chauth, predominantly celebrated by North Indians, is such a fast. This year, Karwa Chauth will be celebrated on October 8, 2017.

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Married women starve all day and do a puja to ensure that the gods bless their suhaag with a long life. The vrat or fast that women keep on Karva Chauth is quite rigorous–not even a drop of water is allowed from dawn to the moment when the moon shows itself in the night sky.

Karwa Chauth is also called as the Karak Chaturthi. Karwa or Karak means an earthen pot using which a woman gives Arghya(offering) to the moon. Karwa Chauth falls during the Krishna Paksha Chaturthi in the month of Kartik as per the Hindu calendar. The festival is mainly celebrated by women from northern part of India.Karwa Chauth is celebrated by married women during which they observe a nirjala vrat (fast without food and water) for the whole day until they sight the moon. They pray for the safety and longevity of their husbands lives by observing this fast. Women also gather together and listen to old folklores and tales associated with the auspicious fast. Women observing Karva Chauth break the fast only after offering prayers to the moon. Women offer water to the moon as a part of their prayer by holding an Atta Chani in another hand.

As women all over the country starve themselves for their husband’s long life, here’s the legend that supposedly started it all. We’re sure you’ve heard bits and pieces (or even slightly different versions) of the story we’re about to tell you, but it’s essential to know the tale behind the traditions we so love to follow.

So, according to Wikipedia, legend has it that there lived a beautiful queen named Veervati, who 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 moon to rise, because she couldn’t put up with the thirst and hunger any longer. Her brothers couldn’t bear to see their sister in distress, and thus placed a round mirror in a Pipal tree, which made it look like the moon had risen.

Now, there are different version to how the false moon was created by the brothers. Some stories also state that the brothers build a massive fire behind a mountain and tricked their sister by convincing her that the glow (emitting from the fire) was that of the moon.
So, Veervarti fell for her brothers’ tricks and broke her fast. The moment she ate, word arrived that her husband, the king, was dead.

Women in Northern India, especially in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab observe dusk to dawn Karva Chauth fast for their husbands.  According to the rituals and traditions, the mother-in-law presents a thali of sweetmeats and savouries to her daughter-in-law only to bless her for the completion of the fast. A Sargi ideally consists of mithai, matthri, dry fruits, coconut and some gifts like sarees, jewellery and others.

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