A Beautiful Tradition - Karwa Chauth
October 19th is Karwa Chauth. Karwa Chauth - an annual festival which is filled with colors, zeal and enthusiasm. The name Karwa Chauth comes from the words Karwa meaning pot and Chauth meaning fourth in Hindi. Thus, the festival comes on the fourth day of Krishna Paksha, or darker night on the Indian month of Kartik. It has both cultural and social significance since ancient times and is celebrated with huge fervor. Hindu women all across North and North western India practice fast from sunrise until moonrise on this special day and get dressed in their best attires with solah (sixteen) shringar and pray for their husbands long life and to enjoy the company of friends and relatives. Even unmarried women or girls keep this fast in prayer of a good husband. There are many stories that relate to the history of Karwa Chauth. The festival also coincides with the wheat sowing time. Big earthen pots in which wheat is stored are called Katwas, so the fast may have begun as a prayer for a good harvest in this pre-dominantly wheat eating region.
The morning begins with activities like applying intricate henna designs in hands and dressing up for the festival. After having the traditional pre - dawn Karwa chauth meal called sargi, women fast for the entire day. By evening, vibrantly dressed women gather in a house or nearby temple for Karwa chauth pija celebration. There is a tradition of reading karwa chauth story and puja thali for this special occasion is decorated with flowers and a small pitcher or karwa filled with wheat is placed in the center. All the women sit in a circle and as the story continues, ladies circulate their thalis. After the puja, this thai is handed over to the eldest female member of the family who blesses every women to get all the happiness in life. The moment moon rises, they would a glimpse of the moon and their husband. Next, the women would drink water to break their fast. This marks the culmination of the rituals of Karwa chauth which is followed by feasting.
- Shweta Modi