“The sindoor adorns on the head of every woman, may it stay forever there”, is the main motive of Karwa Chauth.
Karwa Chauth is a festival of our Hindu culture in which married women took fast without drinking water or eating food throughout the day for their husband’s safety. After all, Karwa is known as ‘pot,’ and Chauth is known for ‘fourth.’ The day seems tough, but loving wives do it all with a lot of love and respect for their husbands in their heads and hearts.
It means offering Argh to the moon with an earthen pot on the Chaturthi of Kartik month. It falls every year on the Chaturthi of Shukla Paksha of Kartik month between September to October month. The real reason for the festive Karwa Chauth is still foggy, but some narrations are associated with that. Various fictional stories are narrated, which explains the reason behind this celebration as to why it is such an important and special day for all married women. In Sanskrit, the festival is known for Kark Chaturthi, in which Kark means earthen water pot, and Chaturthi refers to the fourth day of the Hindu calendar month. If we look at the popularity of this festival, we see the prominence of our country’s North and Northwest regions.
PHRASE HISTORY AND ORIGIN:
The best example of this is that the major parts of the male population of these areas were soldiers of the Indian Army and officers of the armed forces. For the protection of these people, the women of these areas started fasting. These armed forces, police officers, soldiers and military personnel protected the country from enemies, and women prayed to God for the long life of their men as they were away from their loved ones to fulfill their duties and vows. The timing of this festival coincides with the beginning of the Rabi harvest season, which is the wheat sowing season in these regions, as mentioned earlier. They fill earthen pots filled with wheat to pray to God for a good Rabi harvest season.
Another reason for this festival is that girls of 10-13 years were married in ancient India. In such marriages, they are rarely able to enjoy their childhood or early adolescence. Communication was also a major task in those days. Hence, they could not easily come to their parent’s house, and this was also not considered good. So, you can say that a lady had to take full responsibility at an early age. From cooking to cleaning, the responsibility was on him. But, she is alone in her new house between her in-laws as she has no friends and family he knew before. Where will she go, home alone or missing.
So, to solve this problem, women started celebrating Karwa Chauth in a grand manner where married women from the whole village and some nearby villages would gather at one place and spend the day in joy and laughter. They become each other’s well-wishers and call each other God-friends or God-sisters. One can say that this festival is a new beginning in their in-laws’ house for love and friendly life. They celebrated this day and gifted bangles, lipsticks, vermilion etc., to remind each other that there is always a friend somewhere.
RITUALS AND PROCEDURES:
Before this occasion, women used to go to the market to buy things like new clothes, bangles, mehndi, jewelry items, Pooja thali, Karwa the pot and matthi for Karwa Chauth. They bring the thali home and decorate it with great joy from there. All the market shops are displayed with Karwa items and decorated like a wedding hall. On that day, all women wake up before sunrise, eat something and drink water to get full energy; hence remain energetic throughout the day as they have to stay from sun to moon without water and food.
On this day, women wear new clothes and do makeup like a queen, they also went to parlors for there special day or do some groomed procedures in home. The women do no work on this day as they live their life there and perform various rituals and do some work, play games. Some women wore the dress of their region. All the women do not do any household chores and meet in any society hall and prepare homemade candies, utensils and other things which are good for married women and lucky for them. They apply Henna on each other’s hands and make introspection there as Rani. Parents send many gifts and blessings to a woman on this occasion so that the children’s life is happy and prosperous. Karwa Chauth is a good day to exchange gifts.
In the evening, a community women-only ceremony is held. Participants dress well and wear jewelry and Henna, and (in some regions) their full wedding dress. The clothes (sari or salwar) are often red, gold or orange, considered auspicious colors. Devotees sit in a circle with their Pooja thali. Depending on the region and community, a version of the story of Karwa Chauth is narrated with regular breaks. The storyteller is usually an older woman or priest if one is present. In the pause, the Karwa Chauth puja song is sung by singer Ferris en masse (moving his plates in a circle).
The first six describe some fasting activities, and the seventh describes removing those restrictions with the fast conclusion. Prohibited activities include weaving cloth (Kumbh Chakra Pheri Na), begging or trying to please someone (ruthada mane na) and waking up sleeping people (sutra page na). For the first six rounds, they sing:
.Veero kudiye Karwara, Sarv suhagan Karwara, Aye katti naya teri naa, Kumbh chrakhra feri naa, Aar pair payeen naa, Ruthda maniyen naa, Suthra jagayeen naa, Ve veero kuriye Karwara, Ve sarv suhagan Karwara…
For the seventh feri, they sing:
…Veero kudiye Karwara, Sarv suhagan Karwara, Aye katti naya teri nee, Kumbh chrakhra feri bhee, Aar pair payeen bhee, Ruthda maniyen bhee, Suthra jagayeen bhee, Ve veero kuriye Karwara, Ve sarv suhagan Karwara…
After this, the people observing the fast offer the idol in earnest (halwa, poori, salty mathri, sweet mathri etc.) and hand it over to their mother-in-law or sister-in-law. The phera ceremony is over; the women are waiting for the moon to rise. Once the moon is visible, depending on the region and community, it is customary for the fasting woman to see the moon or its reflection in a vessel filled with water, through a sieve, or the cloth of a dupatta.
Water (aka) is offered to the moon (Soma or Chandra, the moon god) to secure his blessings. In some regions, the woman says a brief prayer for her husband’s life. It is believed that at this stage, being spiritually strengthened by her fast, the woman can successfully face and defeat death (manifested by Yama). In Rajasthan, women say, “Like gold necklaces and pearl bracelets, may my beloved always shine like the moon.” After that, her husband takes water from the plate and gives it to his wife; By taking the first sip of water in the day, the fast is broken, and the woman can have a full meal.
There are legends associated with the Karwa Chauth festival. In some stories, the stories are intertwined, with each other serving as a frame story.
Story of Queen Veervati:
A beautiful queen named Veeravati was the only sister of seven lovely brothers. She spent her first Karwa Chauth as a married woman at her parents’ house. She started a strict fast after sunrise, but she was eagerly waiting for moonrise by evening as she was very thirsty and hungry. His seven brothers did not see their sister in such distress and made a mirror in a peepal tree that appeared as if the moon had risen. The sister mistook it for the moon and broke the fast.
As soon as he had his first meal, he sneezed. He found hair in his second bite. After the third, she came to know that her husband Raja had died. Heartbroken, she cried all night until her power forced a goddess to appear and ask why she was crying. When the queen narrated her agony, the goddess revealed how her brothers had betrayed her and instructed her to repeat the Karwa Chauth fast with full devotion.
When Veeravati repeated the fast, Yama was forced to revive her husband. In a variation of this story, the brothers build a giant fire behind a mountain and explain to their sister that the glow is the moon. She breaks her fast, and news comes that her beloved husband has died. She immediately starts running towards her husband’s house, which is some distance away and is stopped by Shiva-Parvati. Parvati reveals the deceit to him, cuts off her little finger to give the wife a few drops of her holy blood, and instructs her to keep a complete fast in the future. The wife sprinkles Parvati’s blood on her dead husband and becomes alive again.
Legend of Mahabharata:
The belief in this fast and its rituals goes back to the times before the Mahabharata. It is said that Draupadi also kept this fast. Once Arjuna went to Nilgiris for penance, the Pandavas had to face many problems in his absence. Draupadi remembered Lord Krishna in desperation and asked for help. Lord Krishna reminded him that on an earlier occasion when Goddess Parvati had sought guidance from Lord Shiva in similar circumstances, he was advised to observe a fast of Karwa Chauth. In some verses of this story, Shiva narrated the story of Veervati to Parvati to describe the Karwa Chauth fast. Draupadi followed the instructions and observed the fast with all her rituals. Thus, the Pandavas were able to overcome their problems.
The legend of Karwa:
A woman named Karwa was deeply devoted to her husband. His intense love and dedication towards him gave him shakti (spiritual power). Her husband was caught by the crocodile while taking a bath in the river. Karwa tied the crocodile with a cotton thread and asked Yama (the God of death) to send the crocodile to hell. Yama refused. Karwa threatens to curse Yama and destroy him. Fearing cursed by the husband-vrata (devotee) wife, Yama sent the crocodile to hell and blessed Karwa’s husband with a long life. Karwa and her husband enjoyed marital bliss for many years. Karwa Chauth is still celebrated with great faith and faith.
Satyavan and Savitri:
When Lord Yama came to procure Satyavan’s soul, Savitri begged him to grant him life. When he refused, she stopped eating and drinking and followed Yama, who carried away her dead husband. Yama said that she could ask for any other boon except for the life of her husband. Savitri asked that she be blessed with children. Yama agreed. Being a” ‘Pati-Vrata'” (devoted) wife, Savitri would never let any other man be the father of her children. Yama was left with no other choice but to restore Savitri’s husband to life. This story refers to Savitri Amavasya and not Karwa Chauth and is widely observed by married women in the state of Odisha.
Since it is a celebration of love and life, it is best for all married couples to say one thing to each other on the occasion that salutes love and dedication. Some men also took fast with their wives if women observe a fast on it, and all this is a celebration of love to protect their wives.
“Together and forever never apart, maybe in the distance but not in heart.”
Best line for all lovely married couples.