A good marriage is one which allows for change and growth in the individuals and in the way they express their love”. Only in Hindu Dharma, this love becomes more conspicuous when Hindu Women celebrates the festival of “Eternal Bonding- Karwa Chauth“.

Karwa Chauth is celebrated by Hindu women not only in India but all the women in the world. The festival is observed on the Chaturthi (fourth day) of the Krishna Paksha of the Kartik Mass (Kartik month). It mostly falls in October or November, according to the Gregorian calendar.Karwa Chauth generally comes 9 days after “Dussehra and 9 days before “Diwali”.

As most Hindu Festivals are associated with Crop harvesting so is the festival of “Karwa Chauth“. Karwa Chauth follows soon after the Kharif crop harvest and is a very good time for community festivities and gift exchanges.

Although this festival is celebrated across the country, it is quite significant in the northern states including Punjab, Haryana, New Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat.
On this day women observe fast from sunrise to moonrise. They break their fast by drinking water after seeing the moon at night.

Interestingly, it is believed here that the woman who fast is not only blessed with the well-being of her husband but also wins the same husband for the next seven births.

Hindu Scriptures mentioned About Karwa Chauth

  • The first story of Karwa Chauth’s fast and its associated rituals goes back to the pre-Mahabharata times. Queen Draupadi is said to have observed this fast. Once Arjun went to the Nilgiris for penance and the rest of the Pandavas faced many problems in his absence. Draupadi, out of desperation, remembered Lord Krishna and asked for help. Lord Krishna reminded her that “On an earlier occasion, when Maa Parvati had sought Bhagwan Shiva’s guidance under similar circumstances, she had been advised to observe the fast of Karwa Chauth”. In some telling of this legend, Shiva tells Parvati the story of Veervati to describe the Karwa Chauth fast. Draupadi followed the instructions and observed the fast with all its rituals. Consequently, the Pandavas were able to overcome their problems.
  • The second story in Hindus Scriptures mentions a woman named Karwa, who was deeply devoted to her husband. Her intense love and dedication towards him gave her shakti (spiritual power). While bathing in a river, her husband was caught by a crocodile. Karwa bound the crocodile with cotton yarn and asked Yama (the god of death) to send the crocodile to hell. Yama refused. Karwa threatened to curse Yama and destroy him. Yama, afraid of being cursed by “Pati-vrata” (devoted) wife, sent the crocodile to hell and blessed Karwa’s husband with long life. Karwa and her husband enjoyed many years of wedded bliss. To this day, “Karwa Chauth is celebrated with great Sharadha (faith)“.
  • There is a third beautiful history behind the festival, which is also very touching. Earlier the men used to go out for war and the women used to stay back home to look after the household and the children. So, to pray for their husbands’ wellbeing, women used to observe a one-day fast. This was also a way to pray to the Gods and Goddesses about protecting their husbands on the battlefield. In ancient times, people used to calculate time with the help of the rotation of the moon and the sun. So, on the fourth day of the Krishna Paksha in the Ashwin month, women used to wait for their husbands so that they could break the holy fast. Maa Parvati is extensively worshipped on this day, followed by Bhagwan Shiva and their sons Ganesha and Kartikeya.
  • There is also the reference to the fourth story about a Hindu wife’s love and devotion for her husband. It is said that When Lord Yama came to procure Satyavan’s soul, Savitri begged him to grant him life. When he refused, Savitri stopped eating and drinking and followed Yama who carried away her dead husband. Yama said that she could ask for any other boon except for the life of her husband. Savitri asked that she be blessed with children. Yama agreed. Being a “‘Pati-Vrata‘” (devoted) wife, Savitri would never let any other man be the father of her children. Yama was left with no other choice but to restore Savitri’s husband to life. This story is heard during Savitri Amavasya which is widely observed by married women in the state of Odisha.

Preparations For Karwa Chauth

As the Eternal Bonding Festival is celebrated with great fervor, married women start preparing for the festival a few days in advance. Women section in shops are fully packed that hardly one can find a space there. Women pick up their outfits usually in bridal colors of red, maroon, magenta, or pink. They buy all the new accessories like Jewelry especially Bangles, Cosmetics, and other fashion accessories to go with it. It’s very ritual to have henna put on their hands and sometimes on feet too. In my Hometown of Chandigarh, one can often be heard joking on the night before Karwa Chauth’s “All roads lead to Henna Artists Shops”.

Karwa Chauth Celebration across different States

The festival of “Karwa Chauth has an extraordinary significance among married women across India. However, the way of celebrating Karwa Chauth varies from one state to other

Indian Army Couple celebrating Karwa Chauth
  • Punjab

Karwa Chauth is one of the main festivals for married women in Punjab. On this auspicious occasion, all the markets in Punjab get flooded with various accessories and decorative items including bangles, beautiful sarees, embroidered suits, and stalls of sweets. Apart from following the ritual of fasting, women adorn their hands with exquisite mehndi (Heena), especially designed by skilled artists. It is also customary these days for even unmarried women to fast in the hope of winning a loving husband.

  • Uttar Pradesh

In Uttar Pradesh, married women decorate the walls of their homes with drawings of Gauri Ma, the Moon, and the Sun. They also make the “Karwa with mud and perform the evening pooja with earthen lamps. Before looking at the moon, the women pray to the idols at their doorstep.

  • Rajasthan

In this festival, the women in Rajasthan make the “Karwa (Earthen Pots) with mud and fill them with rice and wheat. As a part of the celebration, they especially embellish themselves in their bridal wear.

Process (Vidhi) of the Fast

While the enthusiasm levels are unmatched and women make great preparations to mark this day, the most important part of the festival is following the rituals.

The day starts with women keeping a one-day “Nirjala Upwas” (without drinking a drop of water) which signifies the festival’s importance.

Rituals that are followed by Hindu Women are: –

  • Sargi
Karwa Chauth Sargi

Sargi is a meal prepared by the mother-in-law for her daughter-in-law, to be consumed before the dawn of Karwa Chauth. This meal includes sweets and other delicious eatables. The mother-in-law blesses her to remain happy always and gifts her with traditional jewelry and beautiful sarees.

  • Baya

On Karwa Chauth, the mother-in-law receives gifts from her daughter-in-law’s mother, which is known as Baya. This consists of salted and methi mathris, dry fruits, sarees, and utensils.

  • Festival Pooja

From the afternoon itself, the women start their preparation for pooja with utmost devotion and zeal. Married ladies embellish themselves with heavy bridal dresses, ornaments, and cosmetics. After taking blessings from all the elder women in the family, she presents the baya to her mother-in-law.

  • Glimpse Of the Moon

Soon after the pooja, the story of Karwa Chauth is narrated by elderly women of the family or Pujari Ji of Temple. The wait for the moonrise begins after sunset and as soon as the moon is sighted, prayers are offered to the moon. Women first observe the moon through a sieve and then break their fast. The first sip of water and the first bite of food is offered by the husband.

Karwa Chauth Puja

On Karwa Chauth evening community women-only ceremony is generally held either in one’s house or at a local Temple or Community Centre.

The puja is marked by the storytelling of Princess Veervati.

Karwa Chauth Puja Preparation

“A long time ago, there lived a beautiful princess by the name of Veervati. When she was of marriageable age, Veeravati was married to a king. On the occasion of the first Karwa Chauth after her marriage, she went to her parents’ house.”

“After sunrise, she observed a strict fast. However, the queen was too delicate and couldn’t stand anhydrous fasting. By evening, Veeravati was too weak and fainted. Now, the queen had seven brothers who loved her dearly. They couldn’t stand the plight of their sister and decided to end her fast by deceiving her. They made a fire at the nearby hill and asked their sister to see the glow. They assured her that it was the moonlight and since the moon had risen, she could break her fast.”

“However, the moment the gullible queen ate her dinner, she received the news that her husband, the king, was dead. The queen was heartbroken and rushed to her husband’s palace. On the way, she met Bhagwan Shiva, Maa Parvati, and their cluster. Maa Parvati informed her that the king had died because the queen had broken her fast by watching a false moon. However, when the queen asked her for forgiveness, the Maa Parvati granted her the boon that the king would be revived but would be ill.”

“When the queen reached the palace, she found the king lying unconscious with hundreds of needles inserted in his body. Each day, the queen managed to remove one needle from the king’s body. Next year, on the day of Karwa Chauth, only one needle remained embedded in the body of the unconscious king.”

“The queen observed a strict fast that day and when she went to the market to buy the Karwa for the puja. She asked her maid to remove the remaining needle from the king’s body. The king regained consciousness and mistook the maid for his queen. When the real queen returned to the palace, she was made to serve as a maid.”

“However, Veeravati was true to her faith and religiously observed the Karwa Chauth vrata. Once when the king was going to some other kingdom, he asked the real queen (now turned maid) if she wanted anything. The queen asked for a pair of identical dolls. The king obliged and the queen kept singing a song “Roli Ki Goli Ho Gayi… Goli Ki Roli Ho Gayi ” (the queen has turned into a maid and the maid has turned into a queen).”

“On being asked by the king as to why did she keep repeating that song, Veeravati narrated the entire story. The king repented and restored the queen to her royal status. It was only the queen’s devotion and her faith that won her husband’s affection and the blessings of Maa Parvati.”

In the states of Punjab, Haryana, New Delhi, after the story, the Karwa Chauth puja song is sung collectively by all women by performing the feris (passing their thalis around in the circle).

The first six describe some of the activities of fast and the seventh describes the lifting of those restrictions with the conclusion of the fast. The forbidden activities include “Weaving cloth (Kumbh chrakhra feri naa), Pleading with or attempting to please anyone (ruthda maniyen naa), and awakening anyone who is asleep (suthra jagayeen naa)“.

Hindu Women doing Feris

For the first six feris, they sing

...Veero kudiye Karvara, Sarv suhagan Karvara, Aye katti naya teri naa, Kumbh chrakhra feri naa, Aar pair payeen naa, Ruthda maniyen naa, Suthra jagayeen naa, Ve veero kuriye Karvara, Ve sarv suhagan Karvara...

For the seventh feri, they sing

...Veero kudiye Karvara, Sarv suhagan Karvara, Aye katti naya teri nee, Kumbh chrakhra feri bhee, Aar pair payeen bhee, Ruthda maniyen bhee, Suthra jagayeen bhee, Ve veero kuriye Karvara, Ve sarv suhagan Karvara...

Each fasting woman lights an earthen lamp in her thali while listening to the Karwa story. Sindoor, incense sticks, and rice are also kept in the thali.

However, in Uttar Pradesh, while exchanging Karwas seven times, they sing

...Sadaa suhagan karve lo, Pati ki pyari karve lo, Saat bhaiyon ke behen karve lo, Vart karni karve lo, Saas ki pyaari karve lo...

Thereafter, the fasters offer baya (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 elder sister-in-law if the mother-in-law is not alive.

The feris 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 the 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 and then she sees her husband’s face. The below line is repeated 5 times while offering water to the Moon.

Sir Dhadi, Paer Kadi, Ark Dendi, Sarv Suhagan, Chaubare Khadi......"

After she drinks water from her husband’s hand.

Karwa Chauth Thalli

Significance of Karwa Chauth

This festival has immense importance in the Hindu religion and has been respected as a holy festival according to Hindu scriptures. Karwa Chauth is the festival of happiness, love, care, and dedication of the women towards their spouses. Women observe the fast to pray for their husband’s safety, long life, and riddance from all illness and diseases. Recent trends have started in which men have also started observing a one-day fast to cherish their married life forever. Everyone wears new clothes and dress up elegantly. In some traditions, women don ‘Gajras’ (Necklace made of flowers) to be put on their hair so as to look even more beautiful and fresh. Women relieve their fast after the moonrise and ONLY by looking at their husband’s face just after looking at the moon. That Special moment makes this special and spiritual Festival “The most Enchanting and Memorable One”.

It is true to say that “Happy is the man who finds a true friend, and far happier is he who finds that true friend in his wife”.

Karwa Chauth and Bollywood

Hindu Festivals and Bollywood always have a special relation, And Festival of Love and Devotion, “Karwa Chauth” is not an exception.

This festival was first picturized in the 1965 film “Bahu Beti”. I am sure that some of the readers remember the famous song “Aaj Hai Karwa Chauth Sakhi Re”.
Bollywood Celebrating Karwa Chauth

In 1978 movie was Karwa Chauth was made on this festival and its song “Aaj Hai Karwa Chauth Ka Vrata” was all time hit.

However, “Karwa Chauth has now become a more glamorized and keenly celebrated occasion in the 1990s in movies produced and directed by Film Producers and Film Directors like Yash Chopra and Karan Johar.  

Below are the movies which have captured the essence of the festival in the last few years

  • Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam
  • Hum Apke Hain Kaun
  • Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
  • Baghban
  • Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham
  • Yess Boss
  • Ishq Vishk
Military Wife celebrating Karwa Chauth

Points to keep in mind While Observing Karwa Chauth Fast

  • Points to keep in mind While Observing Karwa Chauth Fast
  • The Sargi, which a mother-in-law gives to her daughter-in-law is not just a ritual but also contains food that women eat in the morning, before sunrise. As nothing is eaten during the day so it’s advised to relish Sargi so as to avoid headaches, dizziness, and other health issues.
  • Make sure that morning time Sargi food should be rich in protein and complex carbs. Protein-rich food took a little longer to digest and keep one full for a long time thus taking care of hunger pangs as well.
  • Like most Indian Prasad, Karwa Chauth Prasad too includes sweets and fried items like matthi. It is advisable to avoid overboard with indulgences as it can make one feel bloated. Instead eating a variety of nuts, pulses, and yogurt will help to cope with the long day.
  • It is advisable to drink as much water before the fast begins. Dehydration can increase the risk of developing headaches and fatigue, which can drain and exhaust one. Fruit juices are another good option to avoid dehydration.
  • It is said that women observing Karwa Chauth should also not use scissors, needles, or even knives in the food preparations. Also, too much seasoning of food is advised as it can lead to acidity.
  • Women should avoid drinking tea and coffee so as to lower the chances of developing acidity.
  • As the fast is observed throughout the day so women are generally advised to not indulge in strenuous activities.
  • Women are advised not to wear Black, White, Grey, Brown color on this day.
  • For pregnant women, the whole day fast can be very stressful than usual, so doctors advise observing a lightfast, which allows to have milk and fast through the day.
  • Last and not least, always remember to celebrate the day but keep in mind that little comfort is key. Avoid overexerting so that the day can be enjoyed fully


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