Karwa Chauth – Fast for the Married Hindu Woman

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Karwa Chauth - Fast for the Married Hindu Woman

Karwa Chauth is a traditional Hindu festival for married women, and is celebrated in some parts of India.It is celebrated on the chaturthi tithi after the full Moon in the month of kartik.

The Ritual

Married women fast one whole day without food or water for
the long life of their husbands. The ritual signifies extreme love and devotion
to the husband, as evidenced by the wife’s willingness to suffer for his well
being.

Following a bath early in the morning, well before dawn, the
woman adorns new clothes and partakes of a meal of very select grains and fruit.
For the remainder of the day, the woman is bound to abstain from food and even
water, though the more strict rules of observance are not always kept. In the
text-book version of this fast, various items including a karwa, an earthen pot
with a spout, are collected and worship is offered to Siva and Parvati.

Dressing Up

In the evening the women, to cherish the joy of adorning bridal finery.
Many times, the newly wed wear their wedding dress on this auspicious
occasion, usually the ghagra-choli or Banarsi saris, embellished with the
old-new shimmer of gold, diamonds and rubies. After dressing up, she
receives gifts from the mother-in-law.

Karwa chauth

The Pooja 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.

The essentials of this gathering and listening of the karwa chauth story a
special mud pot, that is considered a symbol of lord Ganesha, a metal urn filled
with water, flowers, idols of Ambika Gaur 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.

Earlier an idol of Gaur Mata was made using earth and cowdung. Now just an idol
of Goddess Parwati is kept. Every one lights an earthen lamp in their thalis
while listening to the Karwa story. Sindoor, incense sticks and rice are also
kept in the thali.

At this time the women wear heavy saris or chunries in red , pink or other
bridal colors, and adorn themselves with all other symbols of a married women
like, nose pin, tika, bindi, bangles, earrings etc.

Once the moon rises, the women see its reflection in a thali of water, or
through a dupatta or a sieve. They offer water to the moon and seek blessings.
And then they turn to their husbands who is near them and touch his feet. They
pray for the safety, prosperity and long life of their husbands. This marks the
end of the day long fast.

Karwa Chauth Vrat Katha

“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.”

Karwa Chauth song sung by women while exchanging thalis.

“Veero Kudiye Karwada,
Sarv Suhagan Karwada,
Aye Katti Naya Teri Naa,
Kumbh Chrakhra Feri Naa,
Aar Pair payeen Naa,
Ruthda maniyen Naa,
Suthra Jagayeen Naa,
Ve Veero Kuriye Karwara,
Ve Sarv Suhagan Karwara……. (6)

“This Stanza is sung 6 times i.e. It keeps on repating till the time Thalis have
been exchanged and all women have their own thalis… it goes on six times, 6
feras / circles.

The seventh fera or circle or exchanging

“Veero Kudiye Karwada,
Sarv Suhagan Karwada,
Aye Katti Naya Teri Nee,
Kumbh Chrakhra Feri Bhee,
Aar Pair payeen Bhee,
Ruthda maniyen Bhee,
Suthra Jagayeen Bhee,
Ve Veero Kuriye Karwara,
Ve Sarv Suhagan Karwara…….”
Karva Chauth song sung by women while offering water to moon.

This song is sung at the night while offering water to the moon. It is sung 5
times. A parikrama of moon is done each time after offering ark. For parikrama,
the lady turns a full circle standing at one place.

” Sir Dhadi,
Paer Kadi,
Ark Dendi,
Sarv Suhagan,
Chaubare Khadi……”