Karva Chauth

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Karva Chauth is celebrated on Shukla Chaturthi (fourth day of waning moon after purnima ( full moon)) in the month of Karthika. This year Karva Chauth is on 17thOctober 2019.

 

Karva Chauth is especially celebrated in North India, in which married women fast from sunrise to moonrise for the safety and longevity of their husbands; unmarried women also join the fast for their fiancés or desired husbands. Women begin preparing for Karva Chauth a few days in advance, by buying cosmetics (shringar), traditional adornments or jewelry, and puja items, such as the Karva lamps, matthi, henna and the decorated puja thali (plate)

 

On the day of Karva Chauth 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. 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. In the evening, a community women-only ceremony is held. Participants dress in fine clothing and wear jewellery 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.

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). 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. Now she takes the water from the thali and take first sip and feeds herself with the first morsel of the day (usually something sweet). The fast is now broken, and the woman has a complete meal. 

 

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