By Oindrila Muhuri Last Updated:
Indian festivals are known for their extravaganza and are celebrated with great joy, happiness and enthusiasm. It marks the togetherness of the family members and is also embedded with various mythological and scientific reasons behind it. One such festival which is massively celebrated in a lavish way all over India, the majority in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan, amongst others, is the festival of Karwa Chauth. Not only that, just like Durga Puja, Navratri, Diwali, and many other festivals, Karwa Chauth has also made a special place in Bollywood films and the television industry.
Karwa Chauth is one such significant day in the calendar, in which a married woman keeps fast for her husband for the well-being of their husband and family. Moreover, the colourful ensembles of the couples and close-knit functions instantly brighten everyone's mood. But how many of us know the mythology and significance of the festival apart from the long life and well-being of the husband?
We all must be aware that Karwa Chauth is celebrated in a grand style where the married woman waits for the moonrise. It is depicted with great sincerity in Bollywood movies, which works as a testament and dedication of the wives to their husbands and families as they never break the fast before the moon comes. Afterwards, they offer Arghya (components of puja) to the moon using earthen or metallic pots and perform the rest of the ritual. Thus, the word 'karwa' refers to a pot, and since it is celebrated on the fourth, i.e., 'chauth' day of the dark fortnight in the Kartik month every year, thus the festival is called Karwa Chauth.
According to various ancient legends, Karwa Chauth has many tales and folklore associated with it. To begin with, when the God of death, Yama had come to acquire Satyavan's life, it was his wife, Savitri who begged in front of the former to grant life to her husband. However, Yama was adamant about his point, and so was Savitri. So she stopped eating and drinking and followed the God of death till the end. Her dedication softened Yama, and he had to restore life to Satyavan. Since then, Karwa Chauth has been widely celebrated with utmost devotion by all married women. Not only that, due to this reason, all the married women circle up at a place and listen to Savitri and Satyavan's katha on this day.
There are many more mythological tales that emphasise Karwa Chauth's importance, such as Queen Draupadi's dedication when her beloved, Arjuna, went to the Nilgiri mountains for self-penalty. And to resolve the challenges faced by Arjuna and also her other husbands, she asked Lord Krishna for help. On Krishna's narration of the Parvati's way of performing Karwa Chauth rituals, Draupadi could finally resolve her husband's problems. Not only that, the story of Karva Mata, who fought with Lord Yamraj for her husband's life, is also one of the highly narrated stories of this day.
Once there was an elegant queen, Veervati who was the only sister of her seven super-caring brothers. She was at her parent's home during the first Karwa Chauth after her marriage to a handsome king. And as she was performing a strict fast, her suffering from hunger and thirst was unbearable to her brothers. So, they installed a mirror in their garden and tricked her with the moon's arrival. However, as soon as she broke the fast, the news of her husband's death also arrived. Devasted Veervati started running towards her husband's house. Midway she met lord Shiva and goddess Parvati, who revealed the truth to Veervati. Parvati also cut her finger and gave Veervati a few drops of her own blood, which she sprinkled on her husband, and he returned to life.
A day before the Karwa Chauth, the mothers-in-law decorates a beautiful thali for her daughter-in-law, known as sargi. It consists of fresh fruits, dry fruits, sweets, cooked vegetables, steamed lentils and other eatables that can give a woman sufficient energy for the entire fasting day. This brings a mutual understanding between the two women in the family, and they become each other's strength for the rest of their lives. Along with this, the woman also receives a gift or a token of love from her mother, which includes clothes, jewellery, cosmetics, sindoor and sweets.
Other than praying for their husband's safety and well-being, this is also a great time to be part of a lady's function, where women bond with each other and have a wonderful time together. Undoubtedly, thinking of a period of complete fasting without even having a friend to talk to is indeed difficult. So for the day-long fast, the ladies gather at a place and eat the sargi given by their mother-in-law before sunrise. Afterwards, the pretty ladies donning colourful ensembles, fast from sunrise to moonrise.
In the evening, fasting women come together and perform the Gauri mata (another form of Goddess Parvati) puja. The mythological stories are narrated to the ladies, and this continues till the moonrise. Finally, when the moon rises in the sky, the fasting women light their diyas and place it in a chalni (sieve) and keep a glass of water and other offerings in a thali to offer to the moon. After this, they look through the chaalani at their husbands, and he breaks her fast by making her drink water.
After breaking the fast, it is time for the ladies to get some pampering from their darling husbands. Though nowadays, many men also keep fast along with their wives, however, this is one such day when a husband and a wife cherish the most. Thus, after the day-long fasting, the husbands treat their ladyloves with a scrumptious meal and are also seen sometimes feeding them with their own hands, setting pure couple goals.
The festival of Karwa Chauth also speaks volumes about a married woman's dedication towards her loved ones from time immemorial. What do you think? Let us know!