By Sanjana Subramanian Last Updated:
The most beautiful part of our country is its rich and varied culture. Every festival imaginable is celebrated here with great pomp and joy. From Navratri to Dhanteras and from Gudi Padwa to Karva Chauth, India embraces all festivals with open arms.
This brings to mind the upcoming festival of Karva Chauth. Observed by Punjabis and Sikhs, this festival is conducted by women for the safety, well-being and long lives of their husbands. The term Karva Chauth can further be broken down, wherein karva refers to a pot and chauth means the fourth. As this festival is celebrated on the fourth day after the full moon in the month of Kartik, this etymology makes complete sense.
Today, this festival is celebrated in a grand style and is even depicted in movies as a larger-than-life phenomenon. But, where and how did Karva Chauth really begin?
Well, it all began in the northwestern region of India. At that time, there were military regimes and campaigns by the Hindus, who were defending our country from Mughal invasions. This only meant that the wives and children were left alone, while their husbands went to protect the country.
So, perhaps to keep their minds occupied, the women planned a day of meeting and greeting, where they would make special dishes, dress up in their best and have a good time with all their female friends. Those whose husbands were already at war, would join in with the others and pray for their husbands’ safety and well-being. This was also why they would fast, in order to keep their husbands safe from the wrath of the enemy.
There is, however, yet another story behind the origins of this festival. Many years ago, girls married off at a really young age. More often than not, their in-laws would be residing somewhere far, far away. As a result, the girl had nobody to talk to or share her problems with. Communication in those days was poor. So, to combat this, it was decided that the girl would make a female friend upon reaching her in-laws' house and this friend, was looked at as a 'god-sister'. The duo would be expected to talk every day, share all their problems and comfort each other. And, the festival of Karva Chauth was celebrated to mark the significance of their special bond.
A day before Karva Chauth, these women would buy karvas or clay pots, paint them on the outside and fill them up with candy, bangles, small items of clothing, cosmetics, ribbons and more, and exchange these with their god-sisters.
Whatever the origins may be, there is no doubt that Karva Chauth is a ladies function, where women bond with each other and have a wonderful time in general, whilst also praying for their husbands’ long lives. The day-long fast, the ritual of passing the puja thali around in a circle, breaking the fast when the moon rises, are all celebrated till date with zest. In fact, Karva Chauth also features in mythology, in popular tales of Satyavan, Savitri, Draupadi, and the Pandavas, in the Mahabharata, where the wives seek their husband’s long life.
Similar festivals include Chhath, which is celebrated in Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Bihar and Teej, which is celebrated in the Sindh.
There you go, ladies! You now know all that you need to, about this popular festival. So now, when this festival arrives, you can proudly tell one and all the real story behind Karva Chauth! Happy fasting!
Like all other Hindu festivals, Karva Chauth is celebrated with great joy, happiness and enthusiasm. No stone is left unturned when it comes to celebrating this festival. Every family unites as one, on this day and women break their fast together, on the appearance of the shining moon. However, whatRead More