Karwa Chauth Biggest Ritual of married Hindu Women

Ravi Rohmetra
Karwa Chauth is a ritual of fasting observed by married Hindu women seeking the long life , well being and prosperity of their husbands. The festival of Karwa Chauth provides an opportunity for all married women to get close to their in laws. Married women keep a strict fast and do not take even a drop of water. It is the most important and difficult fast observed by married Hindu women. Karwa Chauth day falls on the 4th day of the Kartik month every year. It begins before sunrise and ends only after offering prayers and worshipping the moon at night . No food or water can be taken after sunrise. The fast is broken once the moon is sighted and rituals of the day have been performed . At night when the moon appears, women break their fast after offering water to the moon. Possessing a tremedous social and cultural significance, this festival is celebrated mostly by North Indians by keeping fast, applying heena, wearing fashionable clothes and exchanging gifts.
Legend of Karwa Chauth
A long time ago there lived a beautiful girl by the name of veeravati. She was the only sister of her seven loving brothers, and was married to a king. on the occasion of the first Karwa Chauth after her marriage, she went to her her parents house. After sunrise, she observed a strict fast, however, the queen could not stand the rigours of fasting and was desperately waiting for the moon to rise. The seven brothers who loved her dearly, were very disturbed watching the distress of their sister and decided to end her fast by deceiving her. Then the brothers reflected a mirror through pipal trees leaves. The sister took it as moonrise , broke the fast and took food.However the moment the queen ate her dinner she received the news that her her husband, the king was seriously ill. The queen rushed to her husband’s palace and on the way, she met Lord Shiva and his consort, Goddess Parvati. Parvati informed her that the King had died because the queen had broken her fast by watching false moon . However, when the queen asked her for forgiveness, the goddess granted her the boon that the king would be revived. But to achieve this, she would have to undertake the Karwa Chauth fast under strict rituals , then only her husband would come to life. Thus, by strictly following all the rituals of Karwa Chauth , queen Veeravati got her husband.
Tradition of fast
On this day, the women get up before sunrise . They worship Shiva , Parvati, Ganesha , Kartikeya and the moon. The blessings of the Gods are invoked for longevity and prosperity of their husbands and children. Mothers-in-law give their daughters in law sumptuous fool called ” Sargi” to eat before sunrise, as the fast starts before sunrise and ends only after worshiping the moon at night . It is a tough fast , as the women donot take any food or water. In the evening, the women cherish the joy of adoring bridal finery. Many times , the newly wed wear their wedding dress in this auspicious occasion ,usually the ghagra choli or Banarasi Sari , embellished with the old new shimmer of gold , diamonds and rubies . After dressing up, she receives gifts from the mother-in-law. Before evening, the married women receives the baya or a basked full of goodies from her mother, which is meant for the mother in law. The basket contains sweets, mathi, fruits and a sari . Before the sun sets , most of the women in a locality gather in one house and prepare a corner for the puja. This puja chowk is beautifully decorated and a small platform is prepared against the wall. On this the image of Gauri Mata or Goddess Parvati is placed, the women sit around this image with their bayas.Each women also places a Karwa or a pitcher full of water and seven pieces of Pua in front of her. It is adorned with Kharia, aipum and a little roli. A red thread is tied around the karwa, at the beginning of the puja women apply the roli teeka to Goddess Gauri and also to themselves with the thumb and the third finger of the right hand , water is sprinkled on the image of the Godess.The same procedure is repeated with aipum and roli. An elderly woman of the family narrates the legend of Karwa Chauth.Even a widow can narrate this story. The women then pray for the long life and welfare of their husbands. While chanting the prayers they pass their bayas from one to another. The wait for the moonrise begins after sunset and as soon as the moon is sighted , prayers are offered to the moon., the fasting women first observe the moon through the sieve and then break their fast. The first sip of water and the first morsle of food are offered by the husband. A sumptuous dinner followes. Karwa Chauth song sung by women while exchanging thalis. Karwa Chauth festival is widely celebrated by North Indian women and the puja song is sung by Punjabi women while they exchange their thalis seven times. They place ” Bayen” in the thali……