The festival of Karwa Chauth is basically a festival of fast, that is of particular significance to married Hindu women all over India. The women believe in the faith that the auspicious festival ensures richness, well-being and long life of their husbands. The origin of the Karwa Chauth festival is based on a very old and noble idea. In a sense, the modern day’s celebrations have lost its true sense as the outlook of this festival has drastically changed.
The festival of Karwa Chauth is mostly celebrated by the entire North Indian states, or people from this community who have settled in the parts of the globe. The most important and the primary characteristic of this auspicious calendar day is that a women belonging to north Indian communities are required to fast from dawn to dusk.
This fast can only be broken if they have seen the moon at night. The uniqueness of the festival lies in the fact that, nowhere else on the planet will one find a wife who goes without food or water, just to pray to the gods to ensure the longevity of her husband, and in turn, their married lives
The festival is observed on the 4th day of the month of Ashwin, (also known as Kartik according to some calendars). There are various traditions and rituals associated with the celebration of Karva Chauth. The most important and significant ceremony involve the worshipping of the ‘karvas’ (spherical clay pots which have symbols) by women who are married, along with sweets). These karvas are exchanged among many other women who are married.
Married women in every north Indian households observe fasts that continue all throughout the day. This is followed by worshipping the ‘karva’ while the elderly women of that particular household chant the story of the Karva Chauth (the Legend of Vrata Katha). Once the moon rises and it is sighted by the women in the family, special prayers are offered and the fast is finally broken. The fast has to be broken by eating food and drinking water off the husband’s hands.
In modern day, however, the festival is losing its significance in the sense that, with each passing year, the celebrations are being commercialized; while the fasting has been turned into a full-blown event. The scale of the festival has grown manifold with each passing day. Karva Chauth, or the fast festival, as a result now promises to grow bigger every year. The Halwais, the Churiwallis and Mehendi have conventionally been active on this day.