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Rai Shyam
Oct 13, 20228 min read

Karwa Chauth: Origins | Rituals | Narratives

On the fourth day following Purnima( a full moon) in the month of Kartika, Hindu women in Northern and Western India celebrate the jubilee known as Karwa Chauth. Karwa Chauth, like numerous Hindu leaves, is grounded on the lunisolar timetable, which takes into consideration all astronomical positions, particularly moon positions, which are utilized as labels to determine crucial dates. The festivity takes place on the fourth day following the full moon.

Wedded women hold fasts on Karwa Chauth, particularly in North India, from dawn to moonrise in expedients of icing their misters' safety and long life. The countries of Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Jammu, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh historically observe the Karwa Chauth presto.

Origins and Etymologies:

In Hindi, chauth means" fourth," and karva is another term for" pot"( a bitsy earthen pot of water)( a reference to the fact that the jubilee falls on the fourth day of the dark- fortnight, or Krishna paksh, of the month of Kartik). The vacation is pertained to as Kark Chaturthi in Sanskrit textbooks, where Kark is an earthen water ewer and Chaturthi is the fourth day of a lunar Hindu month. the utmost of Northern India celebrates Karwa Chauth. According to one proposition, males would constantly perform military operations in distant locales while leaving their consorts and children at home to serve in the service. They constantly had their consorts supplicate for their safe return. Also, the festivity falls during the wheat- sowing season. The fast may have started as a prayer for a healthy crop in this largely wheat-eating Northwestern region since large complexion pots used to store wheat are occasionally pertained to as" Karwas."

Karwa Chauth

The connection between womanish fellowship and the birth of this festivity is the subject of another legend. The newlywed is anticipated to live with her partner and in- laws due to the wide habit of arranged marriages. Being a freshman to the family, the tradition of getting a woman's lifelong friend( kangan- saheli) or family( dharam- behn) surfaced. During the marriage form itself, a Hindu ritual would sanctify the fellowship. In order to help her from leaving the villa, the bridegroom's friend would generally be of the same age( or a little aged), married into the same community, and not a close relation of her in- laws( so there was no conflict of interest latterly). This connection on an emotional and cerebral position is similar to a blood link. According to legend, the Karva Chauth jubilee evolved to include honoring this unique relationship connection. Many days before Karva Chauth, wedded women would buy fresh Karwas( globular complexion pots) with a volume of 2- 3 liters and a periphery of 7- 9". They would place jewelry and lists, manual sweets and delicacies, cosmetics, and small apparel effects outside. The following day, the women would visit one another.

Rituals:

Many days before Karwa Chauth, women start getting ready by copping jewellery, doodads( shringar), and puja accoutrements like the Karwa lights, matthi, Mehandi, and the adorned puja thali( plate). As store owners showcase their Karwa Chauth- related goods, neighbourhood stores take on a gleeful appearance. Punjabi ladies get up beforehand on the day of the fast to eat and drink before dawn. In Uttar Pradesh, on the dusk of the vacation, partiers consume soot feni with milk and sugar. This is said to enable them to survive the following day without water. Sargi, a chief of this early morning mess in Punjab, always includes fenia. 

It's customary for the fasting woman's mama-in-law to shoot or give her the sargi. The early morning mess is made by the mama-in-law if the woman stays with her. Dieting ladies prefer to look stylish by slipping Karwa Chauth-specific vesture, similar as a classic sari or lehenga. In some areas, ladies dress in the state-specific traditional vesture. Dawn is when the fast thresholds. Women who are dieting skip lunch. Hindu ladies engage in a variety of observances, as well as a Vrat( presto), on Karwa Chauth in expedients of extending their husbands' lives. 

Traditionally, the fasting woman does not generally perform any chores. Mehandi and other cosmetics are applied by women to one another and to themselves. The day is spent meeting up with musketeers and family. In some places, it's common to gift and admit painted complexion pots that are loaded with little fabric particulars, manual chocolates, lists, lavalieres, and other novelties(e.g., handkerchiefs). Karwa Chauth is an ideal time for neighbourhood fests and gift-swapping because it occurs just after the Kharif agrarian crop in pastoral areas. Gifts are constantly transferred by parents to their wedded daughters' families.

A festivity for women alone is held in the community in the evening. Actors slip upmarket vesture, accessorize with jewelry and mehandi, and( in some places) wear their matrimonial gowns in full splendor. The gowns( sarees or lehengas) are generally coloured in auspicious tinges like red, gold, pink, unheroic, or orange. Women dress in lehengas or sarees in Uttar Pradesh. In a circle, the fasters sit with their puja thalis. Depending on the position and culture, a different interpretation of the Karwa Chauth tale is told, breaking constantly. Generally, a senior woman or a clerk, if one is present, will relate the story. The song for the Karwa Chauth puja is sung in accord. In some areas of Uttar Pradesh, vocalizers will play the ferris during the breaks( passing their thalis around in the circle). While harkening to the story in other places, the women hold some rice or another item in their hands. The first six figure some fasting conditioning, while the seventh tells how the constraints are lifted once the fast is over. Weaving fabric( kumbh charakhra feri naa), soliciting with or trying to assuage notoriety( ruthda maniyen naa), and flourishing the resting are among the banned conduct( suthra jagayeen naa).

Traditional Narratives:

The Karwa Chauth celebration is a subject of legends. In other versions, the stories are connected and one serves as a backdrop for another.

The Queen Veeravati Story

Veervati, a stunning queen, was the lone sister of seven devoted brothers. At her parents' home, she celebrated her first Karwa Chauth as a married woman. She started a strict fast at daybreak, but by dusk, she was terribly thirsty and hungry and was impatiently awaiting the moonrise. Her seven brothers built a mirror in a pipal tree to give the appearance that the moon had risen since they could not bear to see their sister in such anguish. The sister broke her fast after mistaking it for the moon. She sneezed as soon as she bit into the first bite of food. She discovered hair in her second morsel. After the third, she was informed that her husband, the king, had passed away. She spent the entire night sobbing from heartbreak until her shakti caused a Goddess to visit and inquire as to why she was so upset. The goddess responded to the queen's anguish by explaining how her brothers had deceived her and giving her instructions to resume the Karwa Chauth fast with perfect devotion. Veervati had to repeat the fast, forcing Yama to give her husband another chance at life. In an alternative version of this tale, the brothers construct a huge fire behind a mountain and deceive their sister into thinking the glow is the moon. When she breaks her fast, she learns that her devoted spouse has passed away. She instantly starts racing for her husband's house, which is a little way off, but Shiva-Parvati stops her. She learns the secret from Parvati, who also cuts her own little finger to give the wife a few drops of her sacred blood and warns her to be cautious in the future when keeping the complete fast. When the woman sprinkles Parvati's blood on her deceased husband, he reanimates and the couple is reunited.

The Mahabharata Legend:

Before the time of the Mahabharata, people believed in this fast and the rites that went along with it. It is reported that Draupadi also kept this fast. The remainder of the Pandavas once had to deal with several issues while Arjun was performing penance in the Nilgiris. In her hour of need, Draupadi thought about Lord Krishna and prayed for assistance. Lord Shiva had previously urged Goddess Parvati to follow the Karwa Chauth fast when she had consulted him for advice in a similar situation. Lord Krishna recalled this to her. According to certain versions of this myth, Shiva explains the Karwa Chauth fast to Parvati by giving her the tale of Veervati. Draupadi adhered to the rules and performed the fast's ceremonies as directed. As a result, the Pandavas were able to solve their issues.

The Karwa Legend:

Karwa was a wife who loved her husband dearly. Her shakti was a result of her fervent devotion and love for him (spiritual power). Her spouse was attacked by a crocodile while taking a bath in a river. In order to send the crocodile to hell, Karwa bound it with cotton yarn and prayed to Yama, the god of death. Yama declined. Karwa swore he would curse and kill Yama. Yama consigned the crocodile to hell and bestowed Karwa's spouse with a long life out of fear of being cursed by her Pati-vrat (devoted) wife. Karwa and her spouse had many happy years together. Karwa Chauth is still observed with a lot of trust and conviction.

Savitri and Satyavan:

Savitri pleaded with Lord Yama to spare Satyavan's life when he arrived to collect his soul. When he refused, she put an end to her meal and followed Yama as she carried her dead husband away. She could request any other blessing, besides the life of her husband, according to Yama. Savitri prayed for the blessing of having children. Yama complied. Savitri was a "Pati-Vrata" (dedicated) wife and would never have accepted the father of her children from any other guy. Yama was forced to give Savitri's spouse another chance at life. Not Karwa Chauth, but Savitri Amavasya is the holiday being discussed. which married ladies in the state of Odisha frequently observe.