Karwa Chauth is an important Hindu festival celebrated by married women for safety and longevity of their husbands. The festival is celebrated with much fervor in the Northern parts of India especially in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, and Punjab. The festival falls on the fourth day after the full moon in the Hindu lunisolar month of Kartik, which usually corresponds to September or October in the Gregorian calendar. In 2017, Karwa Chauth falls on October 8.
Women worship Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati, and Lord Kartik, and observe nirjala vrat (fast without food and water) throughout the day until they sight the moon. Unmarried women observe fast to get desired husbands. The word ‘Karwa Chauth’ is derived from two words Karwa meaning pot and Chauth meaning ‘fourth’. The festival is celebrated on the fourth day of the Krishna-paksha in the Hindu month of Kartik. Karwa Chauth coincides with Sankashti Chaturthi, a day dedicated to Lord Ganesha. After four days of Karwa Chauth, Ahoi Ashtami Vrat is observed for the good-health of sons.
How is Karwa Chauth celebrated?
Women wake up before sunrise and eat sargi, a traditional pre-dawn meal prepared by mother-in-law. The meal consists of dry fruits, coconut accompanied by jewelry and gifts. Once the meal is over women do not consume anything throughout the day until they sight the moon. In the evening, they perform puja and pray for their husband’s longevity. There is a tradition when women look at the moon and their husband through a sieve. Husband later offers water and sweet to the wife to break the fast.
There are several legends associated with Karwa Chauth. The popular one is related to Veeravati. According to the legend, long time ago, there lived a beautiful queen named Veeravati, the only sister of seven loving brothers. To celebrate her first Karwa Chauth after marriage she went to her parents’ house. After sunrise, she observed a strict fast but in the evening she couldn’t stand the rigors of fasting and was waiting for moonrise. Her brothers couldn’t bear to see the pain her sister went through and hence they decided to deceive her. They created a mirror in a peepal tree and Veeravati mistook it for the moon and broke her fast. The moment she broke her fast she received a message that her husband has passed away. She rushed to her husband’s palace and on the way met Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva. Parvati informed Veeravati that her husband passed away because she broke the fast after sighting a false moon. She asked for forgiveness and Parvati granted her a boon to bring back her dead husband. She was asked to observe the Karwa Chauth fast by following strict rituals and thus she was successful in bringing back her husband’s life.
Karwa chauth puja muhurat: 6:17 pm to 7:31 pm on October 8
Moonrise on karwa chauth day: 8:43 pm on October 8
Chaturthi tithi begins: 4:58 pm on October 8
Chaturthi tithi ends: 2:16 pm on October 9