Karwa Chauth is a celebration of married life. It is celebrated with great enthusiasm by married women of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. It falls 9 days before Diwali. This year (2015) it is celebrated on 30th October.
Married women fast on this day and the hands are decorated with henna / Mehendi.
They dress up in bright colored clothes and jewelry. They worship Shiva, Parvathi, Ganesh, Karthikeya and a Kalash known as Karwa, which is an earthen pot filled with sweets.
Aarathi plates are decorated and kept ready.
Just before the start of the fast, the women are given food known as “Sargi” by their mother-in-law, which is eaten before sunrise. In the evening the women receive a gift known as “Baya”, which is a basket with goodies like sweets, fruits and saree. Neighborhood women assemble together and worship Goddess Parvathi / Gowri and the story of Karwa Chauth is narrated.
The women wait for moon rise and see the moon and their husband through the sieve and perform an arathi to their husband. They break the fast by eating the first morsel fed by the husband. This signifies the undying love of the wife towards her husband.
Legends associated with Karva Chauth
- Arjun was away in the forest for long and Draupadi was scared being alone in the forest. She prayed to Lord Krishna and he appeared before her and told her to observe fast on Kartik Krishna Chaturthi to ward off fear and for the well being of her husband.
- Another story is about the princess Veeravathi, who could not keep her fast on Karva Chauth. Because of this her husband died. Veeravathi prayed to Goddess Parvathi and completed her fast the next year and her husband was revived to live happily ever after.
- Yet another story associated with this festival is that of Satyavan Savitri. Click here to read the story.