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Karwa Chauth Festival

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About Karwa Chauth Festival:

Karva Chauth is observed by married women (suhagini) for ensuring wedded bliss and wishing long life for their husbands and children. A married woman who observes this vrat is called ‘Saubhagyavati’ (joyous and happy state of wifehood). On the occasion of this vrat (Fast) a kalash (small container) is filled with either milk or water. In that kalash is placed Pancha Ratna (five pieces of different metals gold, silver, copper, brass and iron). The kalash is then presented to a Brahmin and also exchanged with other married women. While thus presenting the kalash, a wishful prayer is offered to Lord Ganesh: “Let the offerings of this Karva (Karak (gift bring long life to my husband and may my saubhagya be everlasting”. And express such desire that ‘May my death precede that of my husband so that I can enter the chitaa (funeral pyre) as a bride (not as a widow). This katha (narrative) first took place between Siva and parvati. Siva told Parvati about the significance of Karva Vrat. In Dwapar Yuga, Draupadi asked Lord Krishna about the vrat of Karva Chauth. Thereafter, the very first time this vrat was observed in the town of Shukraprastha by Veeravati, the daughter of Vedsharma and Leelavati. Ever since this vrat has been observed by married women till the present day. On the occasion of Karva Chauth which is on the day of Kartik Krishna Chaturthi, fasting (vrat) is observed. In the evening, after taking a bath, under a banyan tree (or in the absence of such tree, draw a picture of such tree) place murtis or pictures of Siva, Parvati, Ganesh and Kartikeya and do puja ceremony (shodashopachar or sixteen step puja ceremony). Then for the offerings of arghya (rice, flower etc.), while waiting for the moon to rise, japa is done with the mantra “Om namah Shivaya”. Havan (sacred fire ceremony) is also done. Thereafter, having sited the moon, offer the arghya. If the husband is present, then worship him with Panchopchar or gandh, pushpa, dhoop, deep and naivedya (perfume, flower, incence, lamp and food). If the husband is away on travels, then offer a prayer to Almighy to grant long life to your husband. Thereafter bring the vrat to its conclusion. Lord Krishna urged Draupadi to observe the vrat of Karva Chauth so that through its influence Arjuna can defeat the Kauravas on the battlefield and acquire back the kingdom. Married women who thus offer wishful prayer for saubhagya by observing the Karva Chauth Vrat, acquire saubhagya, progeny and lasting prosperity.

The Legend of Karwa Chauth Festival:

The Legend of Mahabharata:

The belief in this fast and its associated rituals goes back to the pre-Mahabharata times. Draupadi, too, is said to have observed this fast. Once Arjun went to the Nilgiris for penance and the rest of the Pandavas faced many problems in his absence. Draupadi, out of desperation, remembered Lord Krishna and asked for help. Lord Krishna reminded her that on an earlier occasion, when Goddess Parvati had sought Lord Shivas guidance under similar circumstances, she had been advised to observe the fast of Karva Chauth. Draupadi followed the instructions and observed the fast with all its rituals. Consequently, the Pandavas were able to overcome their problems. On this day, fasting women listen to Karva Chauth legends with rapt attention.

The Legend of Karva:

According to another legend, a woman named Karva was deeply devoted to her husband. One day while bathing, he was caught by a crocodile. Karva came running and bound the crocodile with a cotton yarn. She then went to Yama, the Lord of the death, and requested him to send the offending crocodile to hell. When Yama refused, she threatened to curse him. Afraid of the power of a devoted wife, Yama readily accepted and sent the crocodile to Yamalok or hell, and blessed Karva’s husband with long life.

The Story of Satyavan and Savitri:

There is the story of the 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 Yamraj finally relented. He granted her, her husband’s life. To this day, Karva Chauth is celebrated with great faith and belief.

The Story of Queen Veeravati:

A long long time ago, there lived a beautiful girl by the name of Veeravati. She was the only sister of her seven loving brothers, who was married to a king. On the occasion of the first Karva Chauth after her marriage, she went to her parents’ house. After sunrise, she observed a strict fast. However, the queen couldn’t stand the rigors 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 tree leaves. The sister, taken it as moon rise, broke the fast and took food. However, the moment the queen ate her dinner, she received the news that 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 a 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 Karva Chauth fast under strict rituals, then only her husband would come top life. Thus, by strictly following all the rituals of Karva chauth, queen Veeravati relivened her husband.

Detail Information About Karwa Chauth Festival:

The Fast:

It is the most important and difficult fast observed by married Hindu women. (Unmarried women, widows, and spinsters are barred from observing this fast.) It begins before sunrise and ends only after offering prayers and worshiping 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.

When Karwa Chauth Festival Comming?

This festival comes 9 days before Diwali on ‘kartik ki chauth’, i.e., on the fourth day of the new moon immediately after Dusshera, in the month of ‘Karthik’ (October-November).

The Ritual:

Married women keep a strict fast and do not take even a drop of water. They get up early in the morning, perform their ablutions, and wear new and festive raiment. Shiva, Parvati and their son Kartikeya are worshiped on this day along with the 10 ‘karwas’ (earthen pots) filled with sweets. The Karwas are given to daughters and sisters along with gifts.

The Custom:

In the evening, women dress up in special clothes, usually a red or pink sari or ‘lehenga-choli’ with gold woven ‘zari’ patterns. New brides often wear their bridal costume. All deck up in jewelry and wear ‘mehendi’ or henna patterns especially on the hands. Decorative ‘bindis’ on the forehead are a must for all women taking part in this celebration. Fasting women from all over the neighborhood gather in a group and narrate mythological stories that underscore the significance of Karwa Chauth. And, of course, all wives expect lavish gifts from their husbands!

Mehndi Patterns in Karwa Chauth Festival:

Mehndi is considered very auspicious and is the essential ornament for any married woman at the time of Karwachauth. Many festivals other than Karwachauth also include various rituals performed with mehndi decked hands so applying mehndi is the common tradition practiced in India. Mehndi is applied over palms, arms (both sides), feet, back. The designs of mehndi differ from region to region and the type of festive celebrations. Different designs have specific significance for each religion like spiritual enlightenment, good health, wisdom, fertility and protection. Though the patterns and designs vary from religion to religion and festival to festival, the basic pattern remains the same meaning good luck and protection. Following are the meanings of the common figures used basically in the mehndi patterns:

Some Beautiful Mehndi Design For Karwa Chauth Festival:

Click on design to see it large:


Celebrations of Karwa Chauth Festival:

The day of Karva Chauth is celebrated mostly amongst the entire North Indian community settled either in India and other parts of the world. The most important aspect of this day is that a dawn to dusk fast is undertaken by the women and is broken only after sighting the moon.The fast is unique perhaps because nowhere in the world does a wife go without food or water just to pray for the longevity and well-being of her husband. In modern day, with all the trappings of commercialization attached, Karva Chauth, the big fasting day has turned into a full-fledged event. The event is growing bigger with each passing day. The Halwais, the Mehendi and Churiwallis have traditionally been busy on this auspicious day. But joining the bandwagon in recent times are the beauty parlour owners, the event managers and the restaurant owners. Karva Chauth special eateries gear up for the occasion. Cashing in on the popularity of ‘eating out’, most restaurants have special menus for this special day.No wonder almost every happening-eating joint around town offers plenty of attractive options to choose from. Various clubs organize special events on this festive day with various stalls, bumper Tambola and even a dance competition. With so much feasting and fun added to it, fasting had never been so good before!

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