- Karwachauth is an important festival for married Hindu women
- On this day, married women observe a nirjala vrat
- The festival falls during the Krishna Paksha Chaturthi
Karwa Chauth 2017: History and Significance of the Nirjala Vrat
On this day, married women observe a nirjala (without water and food) vrat to pray for the long life of their husbands. Besides the famous story of a married woman bringing her husband back from the dead, here's another story about the origin of Karva Chauth. Back in the day, when girls were married off in distant places, they left their family and friends behind and had to make new connections. These young girls barely knew their husbands or his family and it took some time to adjust with new family rituals. In order to make it easier for the girls, a group of villagers started a custom of letting the newly married girl befriend another girl of her age and of the same region. They could speak to each other about anything and discuss all their concerns. This friendship would be sanctified through a ceremony during the wedding, making them god-sisters or dharam behen. And so, Karva Chauth is believed to have started out as a festival to celebrate the bond of friendship. Women bought karvas (clay pots) and painted them to give it to their 'sisters'. With time, traditions changed and women started observing fasts for the well-being of their husbands on this day.
The other story that revolves around Karwa Chauth and is generally narrated during the Puja is abut a queen named Veervati. This is how the story goes - Veervati was the only sister among seven brothers; hence she was the most loved one in the family. She was married off at a young age; her first Karva Chauth was celebrated at her parents' home. She began a strict fast from sunrise, but desperately waited for the moon to come out. Seeing her thirsty and hunger stricken, her brothers couldn't bear it any longer and created a mirror in a pipal tree that made it look like the moon had risen. Veervati mistook it for the moon and broke the fast and the moment she took the first morsel in her mouth, she got a message from her servants that her husband was dead. Heartbroken, she wept all night until a goddess appeared in front of her and asked her about her concerns. She asked her to observe the Karwa Chauth fast again with dedication and devotion to see her husband alive. Veervati observed the fast again, seeing her devotion Yama, the God of death, was forced to bring her husband back to life.
Married women, wake up early in the morning (at sunrise) to eat sargi - a meal prepared by their mothers-in-law. After eating sargi, women stay without water and food all day until they spot the moon. On this day, women pray to Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati and Lord Kartik. In the evening, women perform a puja, offer foods to the deities and pray for the safety and longevity of their husband. Once the moon is spotted, women look at the moon and their husbands through a sieve after which water is offered to the moon to seek its blessings as part of the Karwa Chauth rituals. Husbands then offer some water to their wives to break their fast.
Karwa Chauth 2017: Puja Rituals
Before the moon sighting, a community ceremony is held for married women. Women adorn beautiful red sarees or lehengas and sit in a circle with their puja thalis. Stories of karva chauth are narrated and various songs are sung. Thereafter, women pray to the clay idols of goddess Parvati to bless their husbands and family. All of them exchange karvas or clay pots seven times to complete the pheras. This is followed by offering foods like halwa, puri, mathri, meethi mathri or kheer to the deity. This puja can be done separately or in a group.
Karwa Chauth Feast
The Sargi which is savoured before sunrise on the day of Karwa Chauth, mostly comprises of mathri, mithai, kaju-kishmish or dry fruits and other foods. On the other hand, after breaking the fast, women enjoy a scrumptious feast along with their families. The meal consists of delicious dishes such as rice kheer, chhole- puri, chaat, dahi bhalla, pulao and other delicacies.
Karwa Chauth 2017: Puja Muhurat Timings
Karwa Chauth Puja Muhurat - 18:16 P.M. to 19:30 P.M.
Moonrise on Karwa Chauth day- 20:40 P.M.