Karwa or Karva Chauth
Karva chauth, a festival observed by married women. Celebrated for well being and prosperity of her husband. Some young single women also pray this day to get a perfect husband one day.
In a country like India with intricate rituals and customs, marriage is considered a very pious and strong relationship. In India, marriage is a promise of companionship for seven lives. According to the ancient Hindu texts, the will power of a married lady to change her husband’s bad fortune into good is so strong that it can even change God’s ultimate decision.
This is a very tough fast, married lady have to spend whole day without any food and water, still celebrated with great enthusiasm.
On the day of Karva chauth, married lady wake up before sunrise to take sargi (this is food to be taken before sunrise normally given by mother-in-law).
Karva chauth reflects joy, splendor, brightness and happiness of a married life. That day married lady wears bright and beautiful clothes, heavy jewellery,henna on palm and feet.
In evening Mother-in-law or any elder women accepts the baya (which include sweets, money, dress, karva) and give this to younger lady of the family. Traditionally its mother who sends baya to her married daughter houses.
Generally married ladies gather at one place to perform the puja. A idol of Gaur mata of Goddess Parvati is placed on a small square platform. An hour before moonrise, ladies sits around the puja area and pray, with there baya and karva in a plate. while elder lady narrate story of karva chauth.
While the story is read out to everyone, the women exchange their respective karvas, till each one gets her own karva back. During this time, they also chant the following prayer which is for the well being of the husband and for marital bliss.
Addey-addey Krishna Pakshe Var
Tith Karva Chauth
Manse hain apne suhag ke liye
Yeh karva, mattri, halwa, sari, nagdi
Apne suhag ka liye rani ka sa raj dena
Gaur ka sa suhag dena Shri Krishna nimant.
The puja ends with the women showering rice and vermilion on Parvati and seeking her blessings. The younger women touch the feet of the elders, seek their blessings and offer their baya to them.
Breaking fast is also very interesting, women carries a plate with a lit earthen lamp and a container of water. After seeing moon through sieve she offers water and food and then she can break her her fast, it is also preferred to see her husbands face before eating or drinking.
Then the celebration comes to end with a grand meal.
There are many legends of karva chauth, here are some interesting ones.
Story of Veeravati
Veeravati,a beautiful queen, the only sister of her seven loving brothers. On her first karva chauth, she went to her parents house and had a strict fast, waiting for the moon rise to break it. The seven brothers could not see their loving sister go hungry throughout the day. They decided to end her fast, by reflecting a mirror through tree leaves and making her believe that it is moon. Veeravati believing them broke her fast. The moment she ate food, she got news of her husband’s serious illness.
After coming to know that her husband is not well, she rushed to her palace and on her way, met Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It was them that she came to know that her brothers had shown her false moon and made her break her fast before moonrise. The queen asked for forgiveness and was granted the boon that the king would be revived only if she undertakes seven karva chauth fast strictly, following all the rituals. The queen agreed and strictly followed all the rituals of karva chauth the next seven times and got her husband back.
Story of Karva
Karva was a woman deeply devoted to her husband. It so happened that her husband was caught by a crocodile while bathing. Karva came running and bound the crocodile with a cotton yarn. She then went to Yama and requested him to send the crocodile to hell. She threatened to curse him when Yama refused to do so. Afraid of the power of a devoted wife, Yama accepted and sent the crocodile to hell and blessed Karva’s husband with long life.
Story of Satyavan and Savitri
When Lord Yama came to take away Satyavan’s soul, Savitri begged him to spare her husband. He refused to do so. In order to gain back her husband’s life, Savitri stopped eating and drinking anything. Finally, Yamraj relented and granted her, her husband’s life. And from that day onwards, karva chauth has been celebrated with great faith and belief.