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Karva Chauth is one of the most popular Indian festivals and is mostly observed in the northern side of the country. It is a celebration of love, marriage and the unbreakable bond shared between a husband and wife.
The word “Karva” means an earthen pot of water and the word chauth means fourth. It signifies that Karva Chauth falls on the fourth day after poornima (full moon), in the month of Kartik, according to the Hindu calendar.
Why is Karwa Chauth celebrated?
Also known as Niraja Vrat, Karva Chauth is a one-day festival where married Hindu women observe fasts for the health and safety of their husbands. They begin their fasts right at sunrise, which continues throughout the day until moonrise.
Women do not eat or drink anything and offer prayers to Lord Shiva. They break their fast after making various offerings and sighting the moon, which is also one of the most important celestial bodies according to Hindu mythology.
Women pray for the long life of their husbands and ask Lord Shiva to protect them from any harm or difficulties. It is also believed that this festival brings peace, happiness and joy into their married life.
Importance of Karwa Chauth
According to Hindu tradition, Karwa Chauth is one of the most important festivals, especially for married women. It begins with a small early morning prayer and is usually followed by “Sargi” - a food platter containing dry fruits, parathas, curry and coconut water.
Women consume Sargi after their bath as it is believed to be a healthy meal that allows them to prepare for the day’s fasting. It keeps them energetic and allows them to stay without food or water for the entire day.
History of Karva Chauth
There are various ancient legends associated with the festival of Karva Chauth. These tales or stories talk about the sacrifices that women have been making for their husbands and how their love is pure and eternal.
According to one such legend, there was a beautiful queen by the name of Veervati. She had seven brothers and was married to a handsome king. During the first year of her marriage, she observed her first Karva Chauth by observing a strict fast.
As the night drew closer, she started feeling uneasy due to severe thirst and hunger. But she refused to eat or drink anything. Her brothers could not watch her suffer anymore and decided to do something about it.
They created a mirror with the pipal tree in their backyard and tricked Veervati into believing that the moon had risen. She believed them and broke her fast. Unfortunately, news arrived that her beloved husband was dead.
Veervati was completely devastated and started running towards her husband’s house. On the way, she is stopped by Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati, who explain how her brothers tricked her. Maa Parvati cuts off her own finger and gives Veervati a few drops of her own holy blood.
She instructs Veervati to be careful during her next fasts. Veervati sprinkles the holy blood on the dead body of her husband, who is then miraculously brought back to life. In this way, Veervati was reunited with her husband due to her immense love, sacrifice and devotion.
Significance of Karwa Chauth
Apart from observing fasts, women also pray for a prosperous and happy married life. Later in the evening, they perform puja for their husbands before the moon sighting.
After this, the women try to see the moon through a sieve and then catch a glimpse of their husbands through the same sieve. It is also believed that when a wife looks at her husband through a sieve, all negative emotions are filtered through it.
Once this is done, the women eat something and their fast is completed. The festival has also been made popular by its depiction in various movies and TV shows.
During recent times, a lot of men have also started observing fasts for their wives. This has made the festival even more special as it signifies love, compassion and understanding.
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