Karwa Chauth Puja, Karaka Chaturthi or Karva Chauth is a day symbolizing the beauty of marital bliss.Married women in North India wait eagerly for this one-day festival. Because on this day they worship Maa Karwa for the longevity, safety, and prosperity of their husbands. They fast from sunrise to moonrise following a strict ritual. Before we move further let’s understand the meaning of it. Karwa or Karva means a ‘small earthen pot filled with water’ and chauth simply stands for ‘fourth’. The celebration falls in the month of Kartik on the fourth day of Krishna Paksha or dark fortnight.
Karwa Chauth fast of Karwa Chauth is of particular importance to all Hindu married women in India. They believe that the festival ensures prosperity, longevity and well-being of their husbands. The origin of this festival was based on a very sweet and noble idea. Though this idea has lost its true sense as today the whole outlook of this festival has changed.In the ancient time, girls used to get married at a very early stage, and had to go and live with their in-laws in other villages. Thus the custom started that, at the time of marriage, when bride would reach her in-laws, she would befriend another woman there who would be her friend or sister for life. Once the bride and this woman had become god-friends or god-sisters, they would remain so all their lives and recognize the relation as such. They would also treat each other like real sisters.
Later in life, if she faces any difficulty related to her husband or in-laws, she would be able to confidently talk or seek help from each other. Thus, Karwa Chauth was started to as a festival to celebrate this relationship between the once-brides and their god-friends. Fasting and praying for husband came later and is secondary. It was probably added, along with other mythical tales, to enhance the festival. The husband would always be associated with this festival, because the day of starting this holy friendship between two god-sisters was essentially the day of bride’s marriage to him. Thus, praying and fasting for him by his wife during a celebration of her relationship with the god-friend would be quite logical.
It is said that the Karwa Chauth festival began in the North-Eastern part of India when military campaigns were conducted frequently. The men were sent to far off locations to war leaving behind their wives and children. The wives would often pray to the God for their safety. It’s a suppositious belief, however, the religious backgrounds of this celebration are different.
With the start of the festive season, women flood the market to get pooja items for Karwa Chauth including matthi, karwa lamps, henna, pooja thali, along with cosmetics, jewellery and more.They apply henna on their hands and feet on the eve of this festival. On the auspicious day, just before the sunrise they wake up and have sargi.
Upon moon rise, fasting women go to the rooftop or a nearby location from where the moon is visible. They see the reflection of the moon in a vessel filled with water with the help of a sieve or transparent dupatta or cloth. Then they offer water to the moon and pray for blessings. Then the women turn to their husbands and view their face through the sieve.