Karva Chauth 2013


Karva Chauth - Fasting by the Married Hindu Woman for the well-being, prosperity and longevity of their husbands.

When is Karva Chauth in 2013?

This Year in 2013 the festival of Karva Chauth will be celebrated on October 22, 2013.

History of Karva Chauth

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 moonrise, 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.

New Age Karva-Chauth

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 relieved her husband. Thus the origin of this festival.



Tradition of Karva Chauth

A married woman who observes this vrat is called ‘Saubhagyavati’ (joyous and happy state of wifehood). "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 Chauth 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. Since then this vrat has been observed by married women till the present day.

Importance of Karva Chauth

The fast of Karva Chauth is of particular importance to Hindu women as they believe it ensures the well-being, prosperity and longevity of their husbands.
Karva Chauth has become more of a community festival. Karva Chauth is one such occasion when most married Hindu women in North India seek the blessings of God for their husband's long life. Karva Chauth is observed on the fourth day of the dark fortnight of Ashwin, which is also called Kartik according to some calendars.



Festival of Karva Chauth

Karva Chauth falls about nine days before Diwali. It is the most important fast observed by Hindu women of North India. On this day married Hindu women offer prayers seeking the welfare, prosperity, and a long life of their husbands. Though it is a day marked with neither food nor water. Early in the morning they prepare food and have it before sunrise. The morning passes by in other festive activities like decorating hand and feet with heena, decorating the pooja thali and meeting friends and relatives.

In the late afternoon women gather at a common place like temple or a garden or someone’s' place who has arranged the pooja. An elderly lady or the pujarin narrates the legend of Karva Chauth. In the afternoon, mothers of newly wed girls give 'Baya' to the parents of their son-in-law. This Baya contains few Mathris, Almonds, and some gifts. 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.

This festival is quite popular among the newly weds. A few days before the festival, markets are full of items needed for the festival. The preparations for this festival start a week in advance. 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 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.

The festival of Karva Chauth provides an opportunity for all married women to get close to their in-laws. Possessing a tremendous social and cultural significance, this festival is celebrated by keeping fast, applying henna and exchange of gifts. Mother-in-laws buy 'sargi' for their daughter-in-laws. This 'sargi' consists of various types of sweetmeats, and sometime clothes. All these items are supposed to bring good luck to the women. There is great festivity on this day.



Essentials of Karva Chauth

The essentials of this gathering and listening of the Karva chauth story , a special mud pot, that is considered a symbol of lord Ganesha, a metal urn filled with water, flowers, idols of Ambika Gaur Mata, Goddess Parwati and some fruits, mathi and food grains. A part of this is offered to the deities and the storyteller.

Earlier an idol of Gaur Mata was made using earth and cowdung. Now just an idol of Goddess Parwati is kept. Every one lights an earthen lamp in their thalis while listening to the Karva Chauth story. Sindoor, incense sticks and rice are also kept in the thali.

At this time the women wear heavy saris or chunries in red , pink or other bridal colors, and adorn themselves with all other symbols of a married women like, nose pin, tika, bindi, chonp, bangles, earrings etc.

Once the moon rises, the women see its reflection in a thali of water, or through a dupatta or a sieve. They offer water to the moon and seek blessings. They pray for the safety, prosperity and long life of their husbands. 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 their husband. Thereafter bring the vrat to its conclusion.

Fasting in Karva chauth



Story Behind Karva Chauth

Article by Malini Gupta

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