It is that time of the year again when women across India gear up for Karva Chauth.
Traditionally, the festival celebrates a wife’s devotion toward her husband and stands for her fasting to pray for the husband’s long life.
Today, most married women and those women who have attained “marriageable” age in India, will abandon food and water till the moon makes an appearance. All for the sake of the long life of their husbands.
Origin of Karva Chauth
‘Karwa’ or ‘Karva’ means an earthen pot and ‘Chauth’ means the fourth day. It is a one-day festival celebrated primarily in the northern region of India, especially in the states of Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi.
On this day, women observe a day-long fast without eating or drinking anything at all, and then break the fast after the moon is out. They pray for the well-being and long life of their husbands.
There are many legends and folklore about the origin of Karwa Chauth. The oldest one can be dated back to the Mahabharata legend when Savitri fought with Yama, the God of Death, for her husband’s soul. She won over the god, and brought her husband back to life.
Women do not eat anything until the moon comes out at night. In the evening, women dress up and collectively do a puja where they sing a prayer for the long life of their husbands. They pass around a thali with the karwa, a lit lamp, sweets and a few cosmetic products (shringar).
Karwa Chauth in urban times
Many unmarried women also observe the fast for their fiances or even their boyfriends. Over the years, Karwa Chauth has turned into a romantic festival now.
Some men have also started observing this fast now, to stand in solidarity with their fasting wives.
Bollywood & Karwa Chauth
Bollywood too has had its fair contribution in making Karwa Chauth a romantic festival. Hema Malini and Amitabh Bachchan in ‘Baghban’, Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan in ‘Kabhi khushi Kabhi Gham’.
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