Karwa Chauth is a festival that provides an
opportunity for all married women to get
close to their in-laws. All married
women observes fast that ensures the well-being, prosperity and longevity of
their husbands. This Hindu festival has a cultural and social significance and
all Indians celebrate this festival with great enthusiasm.
The festival of Karwa Chauth is
celebrated mostly by North India.This event is growing bigger with each
passing day. In addition to the traditional items such as henna, beauty
products and fashionable clothes, the demand of special eateries are also
gearing up. Nowadays, Karwa Chauth is more of fun than a serious festival.
is another word for diya (a
small earthen oil-lamp) and chauth
means 'fourth' in Hindi (a reference to the fact that the festival falls on
the fourth day of the dark-fortnight, or krishna paksh, of the month of Kartik). It is uncertain how the festival originated and how
it came to be celebrated only in the northwestern part of the Indian
subcontinent. One hypothesis is that military campaigns and long-distance
travel usually resumed around the time of the festival, as the area dried
and numerous rivers of the region subsided from the effects of the monsoon.
Women observed the fast to pray the Moon for the safety of their husbands at this
time as they ventured away from home. The festival also coincides with the
wheat-sowing time (i.e. the beginning of the Rabi crop cycle). Big earthen
pots in which wheat is stored are also sometimes called karvas, so the fast may also have
begun as a prayer for a good harvest in this predominantly wheat-eating
Karwa Chauth is an occasion that
encourages people to gather and socialize with friends and family, exchange
gifts and share home-cooked meals. The gifts exchanged on this occasion
reflect joy, splendor, brightness and happiness of a married life.
Sargi and Baya are the two most important gifting items, as without them
the festival of Karva chauth is incomplete. These gift items are very
traditional and are supposed to bring good luck in the lives of the married
couple. It is Mother-in-laws who gift 'sargi' for their daughter-in-laws.
This 'sargi' is a collection of sumptuous food consists of various types of
sweetmeats and sometime clothes. 'Sargi' is given to the married woman so
that she can eat them 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 do not take any food or water.
In the afternoon, mothers of newly wed girls gift 'Baya' to the parents of
their son-in-law. This Baya contains few Mathris, Almonds and some gifts.
This gift pack should reach the girl's house before evening. A small pooja
to Gaura Ma or goddess Parvati is performed. Married women sit around Gaura
ma and pray to her for the well being and long life of their husbands. A
small pitcher or Karva with some water is placed in the center. While the
story is being narrated, ladies circulate their Baya thalis. Apart from
traditional gifts, nowadays there is a norm of showering various designers’
clothes, bindies and jeweleries, especially to a newly wed woman.