Karwa Chauth Demystified

Veero kudiye karwara, Sarv suhagan karwara, 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

What do people really know about Karwa Chauth apart from being  the pompous fasting followed by feasting? Bollywood has only added more ghee to the fire.

It is more culturally bound than one can imagine. Women from UP, Punjab, MP, J & k, Himachal and a few parts of Gujarat keep this fast for the long life of the husband. It is a nirjala fast [No water] and must be kept every year on the 4th day of the poornima in the Kartik month. This year it falls on 22nd Oct, 2013, which is tomorrow. Yay.

Let me name a few key elements of this fast:

  • Suhagi- The mother gives the daughter all “Suhaag ka samaan” [signs of a married woman] i.e. Sindoor, bangles, bindi, flowers, mehndi and some form of clothes be is sari or suit.
  • Sargi- The Mother in law presents the daughter in law with matthis [crispy bread], feni [Sweet super thin noodle cake] and loads of other food things. It is usually eaten pre dawn post a head to toe wash.
  • The beautification- Since the ladies dont eat and drink throughout the day they spend the day applying henna, buying jewellry, new clothes and cosmetics.

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  • Must not do- There are a couple of things one must not do on the fasting day: use needle and thread, knife or anything sharp.
  • The pooja “things”- The lady buys some gift for the mother in law and keeps it out for the pooja. Few other things that are very important are a lota [A small pot], a thali , a channi [sieve], diya [lamp] made of  wheat flour dough, ghee, sindoor, fruits and a small cloth to cover the thali. The ladies sit in a circle of the katha and there is an Idol made of cow dung [mostly] in the center. The Idol is called Gaur Mata or Parvati.
  • The Seven rounds of Katha [Story]- The fast is basically set on the story of a Queen called Veervati. She was the only sister of 7 brothers. Once she was married, she kept a fast for the long life of the king. For her first Karwa Chauth, she was at her parents house. Since this is strict fast, the brothers got worried about her. They burned something on top of a mountain and showed her a reflection in the mirror saying that you may break your fast now. She did and king fell ill all of a sudden. When she rushed to him, she found hundreds of needles inserted in his body. Lord Shiva’s wife, Parwati, asked her to remove them throughout the year and keep the fast again. For the entire year she kept removing the pins. However on the day of the fast, there was only one needle left in his body and she left to pray to the Lord. In this time, one of the daasi {maid} removed the needle. The King regained consciousness and thought the daasi was the Queen. Veervati was the daasi now. She kept humming a song for the rest of the year “Je Raani thi woh Daasi ho gayi, je Daasi thi woh raani ho gayi”. King was curious to know what it meant, he asked  her. She then narrated the story. The king repented and reinstated her status as the Queen. It is said it was the patience, love and devotion of Veervati that she got the love back. While the katha goes on, the ladies [All decked up in the finest of clothes] sit in a circle and pass the pooja thali around 7 times. The storyteller is an older lady or a priest.
  • Baayna- A small part of the pooja thali stuff is put in the center with the idol and the mother in laws gift is given to her after touching her feet.
  • Moon- Oh the moon is the most important thing apart from the husband 😉 The pooja and fasting ends with the offering to the moon. The lady looks at the moon through the channi and then sees the husband’s face. She offers her prayers to the moon and drinks water from his hand.

A lot of people have their share of opinions about the festival. They feel it is sexist and puts a lot of onus on the male gender. Why should the women only keep the fast, done they want a longer life? “Modern” women must not believe in such crappy old fashioned rituals.

Well here are the thought of my “modern” friends who are damn neat professionals and a die hard romantic too. 🙂

Tanu and Soubhagya-

I’ve been celebrating Karwa Chauth for 6 years now. Since I was a kid, i have watched my mother follow all the traditional ways of this day religiously and I always dreamt of doing the same when i grow up. Although I am married to a man whose family doesn’t follow this festival, I do this for my own reason – to stay as close as i can to my cultural roots. It’s got nothing to do with ‘going hungry for my man’ coz he knows what he means to me. It’s more to do with how much I want to keep the traditions alive that my mum has passed on to me. A day of food abstinence never killed anyone and I still remain a modern, independent and strong woman.

tanu

Karuna and Siddhant-

For anyone in love every day is significant and I guess we can celebrate love in the smaller thing we do on a daily basis. Like making your spouse’s fav dinner when he is back from a tough day at work or just reminding each other how we met! But its days like Karwa chauth that brings back the memory our our marriage and the vows we took and I absolutely look forward to dedicate this one special day to get pretty mehendi, plan what to wear and make some traditional food that we would enjoy together after a beautiful day of fasting and Pooja. I am not a hardcore faster! But this one day I do a nirjal fast just because I feel dedicated and pray for my husband’s long life and our never ending love as a couple together.

sudduYours’ Truly and the Pati-

I am a die hard romantic. While I was growing up looking at my mom putting that red color sindoor made me want to wear some too. As a child of 2, I didnt know what it meant  until the pati put it on me. Relationships are made up of love, commitment, tolerance, forgiveness, acceptance, humility and compassion. As a working couple both of us need to understand what we can or cannot bring to the table. Earning less or more shall not define us, what will define is how warm and welcoming our house it. How huge our heart is and how loved we make friends and family feel. For me Karwachauth is a celebration of love and the commitment that we gave to each other. May there be more love than ever.

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So what are your thoughts? Would love to hear from you.

Cheers,

Pinksocks

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4 thoughts on “Karwa Chauth Demystified

  1. I married into an MP family and we do hartalika teej!! But my mom & bhabhi do Karvachautha 🙂

    As far as my beliefs on KC is conncered, I am with u on this. If observing a fat on KC doesn’t harm me or anybody else and it makes many ppl happy then I have nothing to lose.

    Ur mehndi is beautiful 🙂

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