Karwa Chauth is a one day festival in which married women fast from sunrise to moonrise seeking the well-being, prosperity and longevity of their husbands. This Hindu festival has a cultural and social significance and all Indians celebrate this festival with great enthusiasm. Karwa Chauth is more popular in Northern and Western parts of India especially, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.
This festival comes 9 days before Diwali on 'kartik ki chauth', i.e., on the fourth day of the new moon immediately after Dusshera, in the month of 'Karthik' (October-November). The term 'Chauth' means the 'fourth day' and 'Karwa' is an earthen pot with a spout - a symbol of peace and prosperity - that is necessary for the rituals. For this reason the name 'Karwa Chauth'.
A married woman who observes this vrat or fast is called 'Saubhagyavati' (joyous and happy state of wifehood). They get up early in the morning, perform their ablutions, and wear new and festive raiment. Shiva, Parvati and their son Kartikeya are worshiped on this day along with the 10 'karwas' (earthen pots) filled with sweets. The Karwas are given to daughters and sisters along with gifts. It is one of the most famous fasts among the Indian married women. The fast of Karwa Chauth is of particular importance to Hindu women as they believe it ensures the well-being, prosperity and longevity of their husbands. It begins before sunrise and ends only after offering prayers and worshiping the moon at night. The fast is broken once the moon is sighted and rituals of the day have been performed. At night when the moon appears, women break their fast after offering water to the moon. The first sip of water and the first bite of food are offered by the husband.
This event is growing bigger with each passing day. In addition to the traditional items such as henna, beauty products and fashionable clothes, the demand of special eateries are also gearing up. Nowadays, Karwa Chauth is more of fun than a serious festival. In the evening, women dress up in special clothes, usually a red or pink sari or 'lehenga-choli' with gold woven 'zari' patterns. New brides often wear their bridal costume. Fasting women from all over the neighborhood gather in a group and narrate mythological stories that underscore the significance of Karwa Chauth.
It is the celebration of the beautiful moments of the relationship which is the notion of sacredness, chastity and demureness, swabbing the lives of both husband and wife with the colors of love and devotion.
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