Karva Chauth is a popular fasting in Hinduism and is mainly observed in
North India. It is performed by a married woman for the well being of her husband. The fast starts before sunrise and ends after worshipping the moon. Today, the fast is seen as a symbol of love. In 2012, Karwa Chauth is on November 2.
The simple way to fast on the day is to wake up early have a bath, offer daily prayers and consume some food before sunrise. In the evening, pray to Goddess Parvati, wait for the moonrise. Have a look at the moon and enjoy a good dinner with husband and family. Remember, all rituals are meant for the satisfaction of the ego, Gods don’t need rituals. Santana Dharma teaches to get over all rituals and understand the Brahman – the Supreme Force present in you and in everything.
The traditional way contains several steps and it is as follows:
On the day, married women wake up before sunrise and take bath and offer their usual prayers. They then consume food. Foods consumed on the day are those which can help in maintaining the fluid level of the body - milk, fruits, juice, tea or coffee. Freshly prepared breakfast like puri and aloo is also consumed. Non-vegetarian food is avoided on the day. No food is consumed after sunrise.
Women spend the day visiting friends and relatives. Many make use of the day to apply ‘henna’ on their palms and feet. The women dress in beautiful saris and other traditional garments. Working women head to work or take leave on the day.
An important ritual on the day is the ‘baya’ send by the mothers for their daughters. The Baya (gift to the mother-in-law) usually consist of mathris, puas, halwa, clothes and some small amount of cash. This ritual and the items vary from region to region but in most places a ‘baya’ is send by mothers to their daughters.
The most important part of the ritual is the Karva, an earthen pot with an outlet on the side and open from the top with a lid. If Karva is not available anything any utensil resembling Karva is used.
The preparation for the puja starts early evening mostly by 1700 hrs. The room for puja depends on the number of people invited. The puja place is decorated with ‘kharia matti.’ A ‘chowk’ is decorated on the floor and atop it a seep chowk is decorated with ‘aipun.’ The chowk is placed against the wall and on a decorated ‘patta,’ Goddess Parvati is installed. This is the traditional form of decorating the puja room for Karva Chauth.
A simple method is to install the picture or an idol of Goddess Parvati in the usual Puja room or at the designated place.
An hour before moonrise those who have undertaken the vrat or participating in the puja gather in the puja room.
The karva is decorated with kharia, aipun and roli. A red thread is tied around the neck of the karva. The karva is filled with water (a little) and seven broken pieces of pua. The thali consists of puas, puris, dry fruits, water, halwa and cash. The thali is kept over the karva. The items on the thali vary from region to region and also depend on what the person performing puja likes to have on it. Now each woman does the puja. This ritual is known as mansana.
Women dress neatly and colorfully for the puja and apply sindhoor on the maang. The puja is quite simple. First, the person performing the puja applies a roli teeka or sindhur on the idol or forehead of Goddess Parvati. Then she dips the third finger of the right hand in water and sprinkles it with the help of thumb three times on the deity. The same ritual is repeated with aipun and roli. Finally, rice is showered on the deity and a little rice is kept in the hand. All the participating women can do this puja.
One woman narrates the story of Karwa Chauth and others listen with the rice in the hand.
At the end of the story, each woman exchanges her karva with her friend. The woman giving the karva says’ O Suhagan take my karva.’ The one receiving says O Suhagan give your Karva.’ The roles are then reversed.
After this each woman present perform the baya manasana. The woman takes rice in the left hand and adds little water to it. The edge of the ‘pallu’ is taken in the right hand the index finger is dipped in the left hand. Both the hands are taken around the karva and the water is poured on the side of the karva. An elderly woman chants the mantra. The whole ritual is repeated a second time without the mantra.
Then when the moon is sighted, the reflection of the moon is seen in the water in the puja thali or through a sieve. The woman holds a lamp in the left and offers water to the moon – pouring water on the ground seven times and also throwing seven broken pieces of freshly broken puas.
The fast is broken by eating a pua broken into ten pieces and by drinking water in between.
Note: If you are suffering from any disease or are taking medicines, consult your doctor before undertaking the fast. Do not torture your body in the name of any ritual.
Karva Chauth Vrat Katha mp3
Karva Chauth Katha Text