Karwa Chauth

Karwa Chauth

Karwa Chauth 2020 will be celebrated across the country on 4 November (Wednesday).

On this day, married women fast from sunrise to moonrise and pray for the health, safety and long lives of their husbands.

The Karwa Chauth vrat, or fast, is very strict and women abstain from consuming a single drop of water after sunrise. They drink water and consume food only after seeing the moon.

The festival is celebrated as Atla Tadde in Andhra Pradesh. Women apply henna or mehndi, dress themselves in traditional garbs such as sarees or lehengas, and  apply sindoor (vermillion) on their foreheads.

In North India, the festival is celebrated with pomp and fervour. After sunset, women congregate and listen to Karwa Chauth katha.

Women in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan pass karvas or earthen pots seven times among themselves. After the moon rises, they see it or its reflection in water through a sieve. They also offer water to the moon and then the husband offers water to their wife to break her fast.

Karwa Chauth fasting takes place during Krishna Paksha Chaturthi in the Hindu month of Kartik. The Karwa Chauth puja muhurat is from 5:34 pm to 6:52 pm. The fasting or Karwa Chauth vrath or upavasa time is from 6:35 am to 8:12 pm. Moonrise on Karwa Chauth 2020 day is at 8:12 pm. The Chaurthi Tithi begins at 3:24 am on 4 November and continues till 5:14 am on 5 November.

The day also coincides with Sankashti Chaturthi, which is dedicated to Lord Ganesha.

So because the women fast, they get up early to eat. Here are some traditional breakfast dishes. They have Gobi paratha or Aloo paratha with Raita and some Sweet dish, like Sooji halwa or Vermicelli kheer or Feni. Sometimes its have Chaat, Parathas and Aloo gobi with phulkas. For Dinner later that night its  Rajma masala, Punjabi chana, Dal makhani or Mah ki dal with rice/rotis and some veggie dish. The only only difference is that even though these dishes may have onion or garlic, it is not allowed during this time so Hindus omit it when cooking.

Rituals

Women begin preparing for Karva Chauth a few days in advance, by buying adornments (shringar), jewelry, and puja items, such as the Karva lamps, matthi, henna and the decorated puja thali (plate). Local bazaars take on a festive look as shopkeepers put their Karva Chauth related products on display. On the day of the fast, women from Punjab awake to eat and drink just before sunrise. In Uttar Pradesh, celebrants eat soot feni with milk in sugar on the eve of the festival. It is said that this helps them go without water the next day. In Punjab, sargi (ਸਰਗੀ) is an important part of this pre-dawn meal and always includes fenia. It is traditional for the sargi to be sent or given to the fasting woman by her mother-in-law. If she lives with her mother-in-law, the pre-dawn meal is prepared by the mother-in-law. On Karwa Chauth occasion, fasting women choose to wear karva chauth special dresses like a traditional saari or lehenga to look their best. In some regions, women wear traditional dresses of their states.

The fast begins at dawn. Fasting women do not eat during the day. In traditional observances of the fast, the fasting woman usually does no housework. Women apply henna and other cosmetics to themselves and each other. The day passes in meeting friends and relatives. In some regions, it is customary to give and exchange painted clay pots filled with put bangles, ribbons, home-made candy, cosmetics and small cloth items (e.g., handkerchiefs). Since Karva Chauth follows soon after the Kharif crop harvest in the rural areas, it is a good time for community festivities and gift exchanges. Parents often send gifts to their married daughters and their children.

In the evening, a community women-only ceremony is held. Participants dress in fine clothing and wear jewelery and henna, and (in some regions) dress in the complete finery of their wedding dresses. The dresses (saris or shalwars) are frequently red, gold or orange, which are considered auspicious colors. In Uttar Pradesh, women wear saris or lehangas. The fasters sit in a circle with their puja thalis. Depending on region and community, a version of the story of Karva Chauth is narrated, with regular pauses. The storyteller is usually an older woman or a priest, if one is present. In the pauses, the Karva Chauth puja song is sung collectively the singers perform the feris (passing their thalis around in the circle).

The first six describe some of the activities that are taboo during the fast and the seventh describes the lifting of those restrictions with the conclusion of the fast. The forbidden activities include weaving cloth (kumbh chrakhra feri naa), pleading with or attempting to please anyone (ruthda maniyen naa), and awakening anyone who is asleep (suthra jagayeen naa). For the first six feris they sing

For the seventh feri, they sing

In Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, participants exchange Karvas seven times between themselves. In Rajasthan, before offering water seven times the fasting woman is asked “Dhapi ki Ni Dhapi?” (are you satiated?), to which she responds, “Jal se Dhapi, Suhaag se na Dhapi” (I am satiated by water, but not from [love of] my husband). An alternative ritual conducted by Uttar Pradeshis is prayer of “gaur mata” the earth. Specifically, celebrants will take a bit of soil, sprinkle water, and then place kumkum on it, treating it as an idol/manifestation of the fertile Mother Earth. In Rajasthan, stories are told by older women in the family, including narratives of Karva Chauth, Shiv, Parvati and Ganesh. In earlier times, an idol of Gaur Mata was made using earth and cow dung, which has now been replaced with an idol of Parvati. In some communities, especially in and around Bangalore, a visual depiction of HG is used. Each fasting woman lights an earthen lamp in her thali while listening to the Karva story. Sindoor, incense sticks and rice are also kept in the thali.

In Uttar Pradesh, a priest or an elderly woman of the family narrates the story of beejabeti or Veervati. Celebrants make GauriGanesh and Shankar idols with mud and decorate them with colourful and bright clothes and jewellery. While exchanging Karvas seven times, they sing

Thereafter, the fasters offer baayna (a melange of goodies like halwa, puri, namkeen mathri, meethi mathri, etc.) to the idols (mansana) and hand over to their mother-in-law or sister-in-law.

The fera ceremony concluded, the women await the rising of the moon. Once the moon is visible, depending on the region and community, it is customary for a fasting woman, to view moon or its reflection in a vessel filled with water, through a sieve, or through the cloth of a dupatta. Water is offered (arka) to the moon (som or chandra, the lunar deity) to secure its blessings. In some regions, the woman says a brief prayer asking for her husband’s life. It is believed that at this stage, spiritually strengthened by her fast, the woman can successfully confront and defeat death (personified by Yama). In Rajasthan, the women say “Like the gold necklace and the pearl bracelet, just like the moon may my suhaag always shine brightly.”

Her husband then takes the water from the thali and offers it to his wife; taking her first sip of water during the day, the fast is now broken and the woman can have a complete meal.

I'm the mom to Matthew, which we run and own Matthew's Kitchen. I'm 27 and studying to be a pastry chef. I love to cook and bake but my passion is in the pastry arts. Matthew is a 5 year old who began cooking when he was 1. Through the years he has not only gained valuable skills but has grown his palette. Together we want to share our passion for food with you and your family
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