Women indulge in fancy treatments for Karva Chauth
As the festival of colourful bangles and solah shringar dawns yet again, city women are out to indulge themselves with vim and vigour…
Gifts, pampering and love
For many progressive mother-in-laws, Karva Chauth is the time to pamper their daughters-in-law to the fullest. Interior designer Kavita Taneja, who is an indulgent mom-in-law, said, “I have three daughters-in-law and I enjoy seeing them dress in their finery and being pampered to the hilt. So, while I fast for my husband, I don’t allow any of my girls to starve. I make sure that they have fruits and juices every one hour and give them gifts along with my blessings.”
“A very important and traditional part of this festival is shopping,” said Ankita Sharma, a newly married banker, who is celebrating her first Karva Chauth, and added, “My mother-in-law will take me out for shopping tomorrow and give me a pretty saree and a jadau set. So, I’m really excited and looking forward to this all girls’ outing. The two of us will then go and buy some matching glass bangles and bindis to complete the look.”
Foodies’ day out
Interestingly, every festival in India is incomplete without a vast array of food. No wonder, even the tough Karva Chauth fast is associated with a variety of food. A hospital administrator, Rajni Sangtani shared, “My daughter Rashmei and daughter-in-law Astha are newly married and I’m preparing a huge variety of cuisines, so that they can indulge themselves. My bahu likes dal pakwan and sewai ki kheer, so these two will definitely be on the menu, along with dahi idli and appam. For the sargi ritual, I will get feni, dry fruits, matthi etc for my bahu.”
Body polish, organic facials and more
In an endeavour to look stunning, women are leaving no stone unturned. This is where luxurious beauty treatments come in, whatever the price. Beauty head of a salon, Sapna Saxena, said, “For Karva Chauth, we have quite a few bookings for body polish, organic facials, skin brightening, body ubtan, aromatic massages, traditional makeup, mehendi and hairstyles. On an average, the ladies will be shelling out `4000-5000 for these treatments. But the result is worth it, so nobody minds paying.”
Karwa Chauth Puja Process
The fast of Karwa Chauth is kept 9 days before Diwali. It falls on the fourth day of the Kartik month by the Hindu calendar (fourth day of the waning moon or the dark fortnight).
Karwa Chauth is considered one of the most important fasts observed by the married Hindu women. On this day the women pray for the welfare and long life of their husbands. The festival is followed mainly in the northern parts of the country.
Married women eat food early in the morning, before sunrise. They are not supposed to eat or even drink water during the day. In the evening the ladies listen to the Karwa Chauth Katha (the legend). The fast is over after the moonrise.
The Puja Process
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 the late afternoon women gather at a common place like temple or a garden or someones’ place who has arranged the pooja. An elderly lady or the pujarin narrates the legend of Karwa Chouth.
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.
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, chonp, 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. They pray for the safety, prosperity and long life of their husbands. This marks the end of the day long fast.
The Legend of Karwa Chauth
The queen rushed to her husband’s palace and 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 to achieve this, she would have to undertake the Karva Chauth fast under strict rituals, then only her husband would come top life. Thus, by strictly following all the rituals of Karva chauth, queen Veeravati relivened her husband.
The Legend of Mahabharata
The belief in this fast and its associated rituals goes back to the pre-Mahabharata times. Draupadi, too, is said to have observed this fast. Once Arjun went to the Nilgiris for penance and the rest of the Pandavas faced many problems in his absence. Draupadi, out of desperation, remembered Lord Krishna and asked for help. Lord Krishna reminded her that on an earlier occasion, when Goddess Parvati had sought Lord Shivas guidance under similar circumstances, she had been advised to observe the fast of Karva Chauth. Draupadi followed the instructions and observed the fast with all its rituals. Consequently, the Pandavas were able to overcome their problems. On this day, fasting women listen to Karva Chauth legends with rapt attention.
The Story of Satyavan and Savitri
There is the story of the Satyavan and Savitri. When Lord Yama, came to procure Satyavan’s soul, Savitri begged him to grant him life. When he refused, she stopped eating and drinking and Yamraj finally relented. He granted her, her husband’s life. To this day, Karva Chauth is celebrated with great faith and belief.
The Legend of Karva
According to another legend, a woman named Karva was deeply devoted to her husband. One day while bathing, he was caught by a crocodile. Karva came running and bound the crocodile with a cotton yarn. She then went to Yama, the Lord of the death, and requested him to send the offending crocodile to hell. When Yamarefused, she threatened to curse him. Afraid of the power of a devoted wife, Yama readily accepted and sent the crocodile to Yamalok or hell, and blessed Karva’s husband with long life.
Origin and Significance
Once the bride and this woman had become god-friends or god-sisters, they would remain so all their lives and recognize the relation as such. They would also treat each other like real sisters.
Later in life, if she faces any difficulty related to her husband or in-laws, she would be able to confidently talk or seek help from each other. Thus, Karwa Chauth was started to as a festival to celebrate this relationship between the once-brides and their god-friends (god-sisters). Fasting and praying for husband came later and is secondary. It was probably added, along with other mythical tales, to enhance the festival. The husband would always be associated with this festival, because the day of starting this holy friendship between two god-sisters was essentially the day of bride’s marriage to him. Thus, praying and fasting for him by his wife during a celebration of her relationship with the god-friend would be quite logical.
Hence, the festival of Karwa Chauth was to renew and celebrate the relationship between god-friends (god-sisters). It had a tremendous social and cultural significance when world was not having the way to communicate and move around easily.
Regional Significance of Karwa Chauth
Rajasthan:Among the women of Rajasthan, the festival of Karwa Chauth has its own meaning. The women make the karwas with mud and fill them with rice and wheat. They wear their wedding-day dress or chunris on this auspicious day. Karwa Chauth generally falls on the full moon day of the month Jyeshtha. This is also known as ‘Vata Purnima’. Interestingly, the woman who observes this fast is not only blessed with welfare of her husband but also wins the same husband for the next seven births.
Uttar Pradesh:In Uttar Pradesh, the married women keep the fast and pray for the long-life of their husband. They decorate the walls of their home with drawings of Gauri Ma, the moon and the sun. They also make the karwa with mud and perform the evening puja with earthen lamps. Before looking at the moon, the women pray to the figurines at their doorstep.
Other States:Other Indian states also observes this fast. In Gujarat, many women observe this fast with great spirit. In Madhya Pradesh also, most of them follow the traditions of the women from Uttar Pradesh. In all these states the first ‘Karva Chauth’ of any new bride is a very important festival. New clothes, new jewelery and gifts from both mother and mother-in-law are received. The wedding day outfits are worn once again, mehndi is applied and the family gathers to celebrate it with them. There are many similar stories associated with this festival in different parts of India. In Maharashtra this particular fast is not very popular but a similar one called ‘Vaat Savitri’ is kept by married women.
Regional Names of Karwa Chauth
According to Indian tradition, marriage introduces the responsibilities, privileges and rights of a husband and wife towards each other. In a traditional Hindu family, husband is the earner and the protector of the family whereas the various duties of a wife involves proper care, nurturing, education and continuity of cultural heritage of the family for future generations. Indian women keep various fasts to show her respect and affection for her husband. They pray for a healthy and prosperous marital life. In different regions, these special days are known by different names. Some of them are mentioned below.
Karwa ChauthKarwa Chauth is the most popular festival among married women. It is widely celebrated throughout North India. Having an extraordinary observance rate among married Hindu women, the fast of Karwa Chouth is undertaken by married woman seeking the welfare and prosperity of their husbands.
Region: North India in states like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Gujarat, Delhi and others.
Vat-Savitri PujaThis festival is generally observed on Vata Poornima, the full moon day of Jyestha. On the auspicious day of Vat Savitri puja, married women pay honor to the Banyan tree and Savitri, the legendary chaste wife who fought with death to recover the life of her husband.
Region: Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Orissa.
Teej is another Hindu festival that is celebrated be keeping a fast for the entire day. The word for fasting i.e. Upavasa itself means to move near to the Supreme. The festival shows that women religiously participate in the rituals in order to achieve an effective marital life.
Region: Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh.
As the name implies, Mahashivratri is a day to recall the legendary tale of the Shiv lingam and about the legends and beliefs associated with Shivratri. The festival is mainly celebrated by married women as well as unmarried girls looking for a perfect match.
Region: Throughout India (major states include Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Maharastra)
The festival of Gangaur is held about a fortnight after Holi to honor Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. Girls move towards the temple of Gauri for the ceremonial bath of the deity who is then bedecked with flowers.
Region: Rajasthan, Gujarat & Bengal
All the married women perform the pooja of Varalakshmi Vratham and get the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi for a happy and prosperous marriage. There is no restriction of caste and creed for the celebration of this festival.
Region: South India states of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka
Karadaiyan Nombu an extremely important festival for all the married women of Southern region in India. The festival is known for its religious and philosophical connotations. Nonbu is to observe certain norms and offer our prayers accordingly.
Region: Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.
Karwa Chauth Celebrations
Karva Chauth special eateries are gearing up for now. Cashing in on the popularity of ‘eating out’ most restaurants have special menus for this special day. No wonder almost every happening-eating joint around town is offering plenty of attractive options to choose from. Various clubs organize special events on this festive day with various stalls, bumper Tambola and even a dance competition. With so much feasting and fun added to it, fasting had never been so good before.
The Tradition of Karwa Chauth
On listening to her fear and perplexity, Lord Krishna cited an example of Goddess Parvati. Parvati in a similar situation asked Lord Shiva’s help. Lord Shiva explained to her that to ward off such apprehensions, a woman could observe a fast on Kartik Krishna Chaturthi as a remedy. Lord Krishna advised Draupadi to undertake this fast and also assured her of he victory of the Pandavas. Women also pray to Lord Ganesha for the fulfillment of all their wishes.
The fast has all the trappings of festivity. Women dress up in their best finery, with henna-decked hands, bindis, colorful bangles, vermilion in their hair-parting and the best of jewelery. However, they do not eat even a morsel of food, neither drink a drop of water, from dawn till the moon rises. Finally, when the moon is sighted, the wife goes out to view it. The moon is worshiped and then she turns to view her husband’s face through the pores of a sieve, praying for his long life. After performing the puja, its finally time for food.
Rituals and Festivities
The Start Of The DayOn this day the women get up before sunrise. They worship Shiva, Parvati, Ganesh, Kartikeya and the moon. The blessings of the Gods are invoked for longevity and prosperity of their husbands and children. Mothers-in-law give their daughters-in-law sumptuous food called ‘Sargi’ to eat before sunrise, as the fast starts before sunrise and ends only after worshiping the moon at night. It is a tough fast, as the women do not take any food or water.
Dressing UpIn 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.
Evening PujaBefore evening, the married woman receives the baya or a basket full of goodies from her mother, which is meant for the mother-in-law. The basket contains sweets, mathadi, fruits and a sari. Before the sun sets, most of the women in a locality gather in one house and prepare a corner for the puja. This puja chowk is beautifully decorated and a small platform is prepared against a wall. On this, the image of Gauri Mata or Goddess Parvati is placed. In the olden days, this image was made of cow-dung.
The Process Of PujaThe women sit around this image with their bayas. Each woman also places a karva or a pitcher full of water and seven pieces of pua in front of her. It is adorned with kharia, aipun and a little roli. A red thread is tied around the karva. At the beginning of the puja, women apply the roli teeka to Goddess Gauri and also to themselves. With the thumb and the third finger of the right hand, water is sprinkled on the image of the goddess. The same procedure is repeated with aipun and roli . Lastly, rice is showered on the image.
Narration of Vrata KathaAn elderly woman of the family narrates the legend of Karva Chauth. Even a widow can narrate this story. The women then pray for the long life and welfare of their husbands. While chanting the prayers, they pass their bayas from one to another. The wait for the moon rise begins after sunset, and as soon as the moon is sighted, prayers are offered to the moon. The fasting women first observe the moon through a sieve and then break their fast. The first sip of water and the first morsel of food is offered by the husband. A sumptuous dinner follows.
Karva Chauth Song
Sarv Suhagan Karwada,
A Katti Na Ateri Naa,
Kumbh Chrakhra Feri Naa,
Gwand Pair payeen Naa,
Sui Che Dhaga Payeen Naa
Ruthda maniyen Naa,
Suthra Jagayeen Naa,
Bhain Pyari Veeran,
Chan Chade Te Pani Peena
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 goes like this…
“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…….”
This song is sung at the night while offering water (Ark) 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,
Henna Designs For PalmA full hand design, either palm or back with the help of henna paste looks always trendy.
While Arabic henna designs are usually large, floral patterns on the hands, Indian mehndi involves fine, thin lines for lacy, floral and paisley patterns covering entire hand and also forearms. Most traditional henna patterns are based on very simple shapes – circles, triangles and lines are the most basic. These shapes can be combined to create a very intricate pattern and a very beautiful henna design on palm.
The various mehendi designs meant for hands include flower arches, henna web, flower net, flowery trails, lucky lotus, leaves chains etc. While decorating an entire hand, one can start where it is most comfortable, depending on the design. Common starting points are the line where the fingers bend bordering the palm, the wrist, or the center of the palm. It is usually easiest to begin by covering the palm, and then doing the fingers.
Henna Designs For FeetHenna designs done on the feet, involves painting beautiful and elaborate patterns with a dye made from crushed leaves of the henna plant. The Middle Eastern style consisted mostly of floral patterns inspired by Arabic carvings, paintings and textiles. This casual style did not usually follow a specific pattern. The North American style accentuated the shape of the feet using geometric floral patterns. The Indian and Pakistani designs are made up of intricate, repetitive paisley patterns, lines and teardrops.
Some of the popular designs for feet include flowers, leafy tendrils, and abstract shapes. Applying henna designs on feet are a little more difficult, but can be created easily with a bit of concentration. Usually, the sides or bottoms of the feet, are decorated with blocks of color on the tips of toes.
Henna Designs For Body DecorationHenna artisans brings along its creative henna art that include all the latest trends that come in, to give a continues variety. From tiny roses on shoulders to full body motifs, tattoos have made their way into the mainstream life as a modern genre of artistic expression.
Intrigued by the creation of beautiful designs on the body, henna mehndi is being used by women worldwide as a mode of self-expression. The designs originate from the practices followed on these occasions and represent specific objects, dresses, floral designs, leaves, flowers and birds associated with the festival.
Recipes for Karwa Chauth
1/4 cup condensed milk
2 cups milk
2 bread slices
A few safforn strands
1/4 tsp elachi powder
- 1. Discard crusts from bread slices.
- 2. Grind these slices in a processor and prepare fresh bread crumbs.
- 3. Boil milk in a pan.
- 4. Add bread crumbs, condensed milk and sugar altogether.
- 5. Simmer on a high flame, stir continuously for about 10 minutes.
- 6. Remove from the fire.
- 7. Add safforn and cardamon powder and mix well.
- 8. Keep it in a refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
- 9. Rabri is ready to serve.
Contributed by: Rizwan
Dum Aloo (Potato)
- Potato : 250 gm
- Garam masala : ½ tsp.
- Tomato : 100 gm
- Jeera : ¼ tsp.
- Dhaniya powder : 1½ tsp.
- Hing : 1 pinch
- Red chilly powder and Haldi powder : ½ tsp. each
- Oil for tadaka : 2 tbsp.
- Salt : 1 tsp.
- Coriander leaves : For flavour
Method: Peel the potatoes. Cut them into small cubes. Grate the tomato and keep aside. Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add jeera and hing together. Add tomato and cook till done. Add potatoes and fry for 2 minutes. Add dhaniya, red chilly, haldi, salt and garam masala. Add two glassfuls of water. Cover it with lid. After one whistle, simmer the gas for 5-7 minutes. Transfer it to a bowl. Sprinkle some coriander leaves. Serve hot with Bedmi Puri.
- 6 potatoes
- 1/4 tsp green chilli paste
- 1/4 tsp garam masala
- Salt as per taste
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp ginger paste
- Oil for frying
Method:Microwave potaoes for 7 mins. Peel and smash the potatoes. Mix in potatoes rest of the ingredients except oil and make small patties. Heat oil in a frying pan and deep fry till golden brown and serve hot with wafers.
- All purpose flour or Maida 2 cups
- Salt 1/2 tsp
- Ghee 4 tbsps
- Orange food color
- Grated dry coconut(copra)
- Chopped nuts
- Oil for frying
For syrup (chashni / paka ):
- Sugar 1 cup
- Water 1 cup
- Cardamom powder 1 tsp
In a large bowl, combine flour, food color and salt. Add water and make a soft dough (like chapathi). Keep covered for 20 minutes. Now prepare sugar syrup or chashni. Add 1 cup of water to 1 cup of sugar. Bring it to boil. Keep boiling till you get a thread like consistency. Add cardamom powder and keep aside.
Make small lemon size balls out of the dough and keep them covered. Dust the working surface with little flour. Take a ball and roll into round shape. Smear ghee on the surface. Now fold it into half and again half. It should look like a triangle. Then press lightly with the rolling pin. Follow the same procedure for the remaining balls. Heat oil in a frying pan, dip prepared trianglular puris one by one. Deep fry in a medium flame till golden brown.
As soon as you take out from the oil, dip it in the sugar syrup. Let the syrup cover all side. Remove with the help of tongs and keep aside on the plate. Decorate with grated dry coconut (copra) and chopped nuts on top of each puri
Broken Wheat Kheer
- Broken wheat 1 cup
- Water 2 1/2 cup
- Jaggery 1 cup
- Cornflour 2 tsp
- Cardamoms powder 2 tsp
- Coconut milk, from one cup freshly grated coconut
Prepare broken wheat in dry grinder. Then cook broken wheat in pressure cooker, with water, till very soft. It normally takes about 8 minutes. Add jaggery to nearly boiling cooked wheat and let simmer for a minute more, uncovered, stirring all the time to avoid burning. Remove from heat. Mix coconut milk with cornflour and add to porridge on the low flame. Allow it to almost boil but do not keep boiling for any length of time. Add cardamom powder, and serve hot or cold.
Recipe by Jessica Shapurkar
Karva Chauth 2015 – Dates may vary.
Karva Chauth (Hindi: करवा चौथ) is a one-day festival celebrated by Hindu women in North India in which married women fast from sunrise to moonrise for the safety and longevity of their husbands.
Karwa Chauth Puja – Find information on karwa chauth puja, karva chauth pooja …karva chauth pooja process in India, karwachauth 2015, india karvachauth, …
Bollywood has played a vital role in making Karwa Chauth a larger-than-life event.
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