Karva Chauth - Significance Rituals and Traditions
Karva Chauth is an important festival of North India and is celebrated by married women for the well being and long life of their husbands. It is more popular in Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. In this festival, married women fast from dawn to the sighting of the Moon in the night and do not consume any food or water during this period.
‘Karva’ refers to the clay pot used during the ‘puja’ and ‘Chauth’ to the fourth, since the festival falls on the fourth day after the Full Moon in the ‘Kartik’ month of the Hindu calendar.
Karva Chauth, this year 2019, falls on Saturday, the 17th of October and coincides with Sankashti Chaturthi, a fasting day observed for Lord Ganesha.
Karwa Chauth Puja Muhurat- 17:46 to 19:02
Chaturthi tithi Begins- 06:48 (17 Oct 2019)
Chaturthi tithi End- 07:28 (18 Oct 2019)
According to the ‘Panchang’, the auspicious time for the ‘puja’ is 17.46 to 19.02, a total of 1 hour 16 minutes and moonrise will be at 20.20.
Rituals and Traditions
The celebration for the festival starts a few days before and markets take on a festive look with bright coloured bangles, ‘bindis’, ‘puja thalis’, ‘puja’ items on display in competition with sweet shops overflowing with their variety of eatables. Stalls, that have artists using henna to make beautiful patterns on hands and feet of women, spring overnight in every nook and corner.
On the morning of Karva Chauth, the women get ready before sunrise and eat the traditional food and drink according to their custom. While in Punjab, the mother-in-law of the woman sends the traditional ‘sargi’(Which includes a mandatory ‘Fenia' along with fruits and sweets) to be eaten before sunrise, in Uttar Pradesh, women eat ‘soot feni’ on the eve of the festival.
Women, normally, are pampered on this day and they spend the day relaxing and away from general household chores.
In the evening, during the auspicious ‘muhurat’, which is before sunset, the women gather together in a temple, in their finery, sit in a circle and after praying to the Goddess ‘Gaur Mata or Parvati’, listen to the Karva Chauth story recited by a priest or an older woman and exchange their ‘thalis’ or Karvas.
After this, some women have just tea or juice, but most wait for the moon to rise.
When the moon is sighted, the fasting woman first views the moon’s reflection through a sieve or in a vessel filled with water, offers water to the moon, prays for her husband’s long life and then views his face through the same sieve. The husband then breaks her fast by offering her the first sip of water and some sweet.After that, she has her normal meal.
Legend behind Karva Chauth
There are many legends associated with this festival, but the most commonly read tale is about the queen Veeravati. She was the pampered sister of seven brothers. She came to her maternal home to celebrate the festival of Karva Chauth. Her brothers couldn’t see their beloved sister going without food or water the whole day, so as the evening approached, they lighted a huge fire behind some trees and told her that the moon has lighted the sky. The gullible sister, believing her brothers, broke her fast. The moment she did that, her husband fell unwell. She spent the entire next year caring for his needs and praying to the Goddess. The Goddess instructed her to be careful in the next Karva Chauth. Veeravati did just that and ‘Yama’, the Lord of Death, was forced to bring her husband back to life.
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