Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Karwa Chauth

30th October 2015
विक्रम सम्वत् 2071     
कार्तिक कृष्ण तीज




Karwa Chauth fasting is done during Krishna Paksha Chaturthi in the Hindu month of Kartik and according to Amanta calendar followed in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Southern India it is Ashwin month which is current during Karwa Chauth. However, it is just the name of the month which differs and in all states Karwa Chauth is observed on the same day.

Karwa Chauth coincides with Sankashti Chaturthi a fasting day observed for Lord Ganesha. The fasting of Karwa Chauth and its rituals are observed by married women for the long life of their husband. Married women worship Lord Shiva and His family including Lord Ganesha and break the fast only after sighting and making the offerings to the moon. The fasting of Karwa Chauth is strict and observed without taking any food or even a drop of water after sunrise till the sighting of the moon in the night.




Karwa chauth is a day of fasting and prayer by married women for the long life of their Husband. The auspicious occasion is celebrated mostly in the northern part of India. Women celebrating Karwa Chauth fasting from sunrise to moon rise without eating a bit or drinking a drop. They do the most difficult fast for the long life and prosperity of their husbands.

On the festive day married women wear special clothes usually red or pink saree suit, adorn themselves with colorful bangles, bindi, jewelry, and vermilion on the forehead and apply Heena (Mehendi) on both hands. Then they worship Lord Shiv , Parvati,Ganesha and Kartikeya. They also worship a Kalash or Karwa (earthen pot made of clay) filled with sweets. In some communities women begin their fast by consuming food called ‘Sargi’ given by their mother-in-law to eat before sunrise. In the evening women receive a basket (Bayana) containing sweets, fruits and saree from mother in laws. Then women from neighbourhood assemble to worship Goddess Gauri and an elderly woman of family narrates the story of Karwa Chauth. After that, the rising of the moon is awaited and as it happens, women worship it and seethe moon and their husband through sieve. Then they receive a bit of food from their husband and end the day long fast.

Puja Process
The pooja preparations start a day in advance. Married women buy the shringar or the traditional adornments and the other pooja items the karwa, matthi, heena etc.

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 evening a karwa chauth puja is held by neighboring women, the essentials of this gathering is a special mud pot, which is considered a symbol of Lord Ganesha, a metal urn filled with water, flowers, idols of Ambika Gauri Mata, Goddess Parwati and some fruits, mathi and food grains. A part of this is offered to the deities and the storyteller. They sit in a circle, and many such circles are made depending on the number of devotees attending the function as it is easy that the thalis are passed in a circle (fera) amongst themselves. Here is the puja song sung by women, while they exchange thalis seven times.

The Story of Karwa Chauth 

"A long long time ago, there lived a beautiful princess by the name of Veeravati. When she was of the marriageable age, Veeravati 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 was too delicate and couldn’t stand the rigours of fasting. By evening, Veeravati was too weak, and fainted. Now, the queen had seven brothers who loved her dearly. They couldn’t stand the plight of their sister and decided to end her fast by deceiving her. They made a fire at the nearby hill and asked their sister to see the glow. They assured her that it was the moonlight and since the moon had risen, she could break her fast."

"However, the moment the gullible queen ate her dinner, she received the news that her husband, the king, was dead. The queen was heartbroken and rushed to her husband’s palace. 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 would be ill."

"When the queen reached the palace, she found the king lying unconscious with hundreds of needles inserted in his body. Each day, the queen managed to remove one needle from the king’s body. Next year, on the day of Karva Chauth, only one needle remained embedded in the body of the unconscious king."

"The queen observed a strict fast that day and when she went to the market to buy the karva for the puja , her maid removed the remaining needle from the king’s body. The king regained consciousness, and mistook the maid for his queen. When the real queen returned to the palace, she was made to serve as a maid."

"However, Veeravati was true to her faith and religiously observed the Karva Chauth vrat . Once when the king was going to some other kingdom, he asked the real queen (now turned maid) if she wanted anything. The queen asked for a pair of identical dolls. The king obliged and the queen kept singing a song " Roli ki Goli ho gayi... Goli ki Roli ho gayi " (the queen has turned into a maid and the maid has turned into a queen)."

"On being asked by the king as to why did she keep repeating that song, Veeravati narrated the entire story. The king repented and restored the queen to her royal status. It was only the queen’s devotion and her faith that won her husband’s affection and the blessings of Goddess Parvati."