Karva Chauth

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The "Karva Chauth" is observed on the fourth day of the dark fortnight of Ashwin.The Karwa Chauth is important to all Hindu married women.It is celebrated for ensuring wedded bliss and wishing long life for husbands and children. A married woman who observes this Vrat(fast) is called' Saubhagyavati' (joyous and happy state of wifehood).

In the olden times the girls used to get married at a very young age and the In-Laws houses were far away.In case of any harrasment or similsr problems the girls could not contact the house members since there was even no phone fascility.

Due to this ritual of Karva Chauth all the married girls used to come together and became friends and shared their problems.So, the Karwa Chauth festival was to renew and celebrate the relationship between friends (god-sisters). It had a tremendous social and cultural significance.Praying for the husband's long life and properity was added later to enhance the festival.

Celebrations

A decorated thali,known as Baya, is a very important in performing the Karva Chauth puja.It contains vermilion, sacred water, the roli,dry fruits etc.The attractive thalis for puja also contain the ritualistic decoration like rangoli with floral designs and multicolored pulses.

Goddess Parvati is worshiped. by Married women on this day.A small jar or Karva containing some water is placed in the center. Legends are being narrated and the ladies circulate the decorated thalis.

After performing the puja, this thali is handed over to the eldest woman of the family who gives blessings to all the women.The important rituals involving the festival include worshipping 'Karvas' ie spherical clay pots with sweets,which are later exchanged with other married women.

Women observe fasts all days long, then worship the 'karva' and the elderly woman of the family narrates the legend of Karva Chauth (the narration of Vrata Katha). Then they wait for the moon to rise and as soon as the moon is sighted, prayers are offered to the moon.

The fasting women first observe the moon through a sieve that is a net and then break their fast. The first sip of water and the first bite of food are offered by the husband. Later on sumptuous dinner is served as a part of the celebration.

Legend

* Veeravati
There was a beautiful girl,Veeravati,who was the only sister of her seven brothers, and was married to a king. On the first Karva Chauth, she went to her parents' house and observed a strict Vrat (fast).The seven brothers were disturbed her fasting and decided to end her fast by cheating her.

The brothers reflected a glare of a mirror through Banyan tree leaves and the sister, thought it was the moon rise, She ended her fast and ate her meals.No sooner did she eat the meals than she got the news of her husbands serious health problem.

The sister rushed to visit her husband but on the way, she met Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati who informed her that the king had died due to her breaking of fast before moonrise. When she pleaded for apology, the goddess Parvati granted her the boon that the king would come back to life if she would strictly observe the Karva Chauth fast. Thus, by strictly oberving the Karva chauth rituals, Veeravati got her husband back to life.

* Mahabharat
Once Arjun went to the Nilgiri Mountains for penance and in his absence,the rest of the Pandavas faced many problems.Draupadi,prayed for the help of Lord Krishna who reminded her that Goddess Parvati had been advised to observe the fast of Karva Chauth.

Draupadi followed the instructions and strictly observed the fas and the Pandavas were relieved from their problems. On this day, legends of Karva Chauth are narrated to the fasting women.

* Satyavan and Savitri

When Lord Yam,the God of Death, came to take away Satyavan's soul, The wife,Savitri begged for his long life.Lord Yam refused and she stopped eating her food and drinking even water.Lord Yamra finally relented. and granted her,husband's life.So on this day, Karva Chauth is celebrated with great faith and belief.