My First Karwa Chauth

My day started at 6:45 with breakfast in bed from my husband!

I don’t have a lot of family around to be part of the day with me, but Brad was happy to be supportive (particularly after reading the story of the woman who was tricked by seeing a false moon and her husband died because of it! I’m probably not going to run into Shiva on the road to ask for his resurrection).

Brad also brought me a nice tall glass of water to hopefully see me through the day.

I had to work, so I wasn’t able to relax and focus on the holiday. I wore a nice salwar suit and some jewelry (including my allergy-inducing chura), but didn’t go all out yet.

I thought it would be hard not to graze on chips at work, but the chips are in the back of the office and I’m at the front. I’ve been eating a lot less lately in general, usually eating only three pieces of fruit and a granola bar during work hours. I felt a little hunger, but nothing too challenging.

I was also fine with the lack of water. My mouth felt a bit sticky by the end of the day, but I wasn’t suffering. (There are those who believe that I have chronic dehydration! Though I only drink water, I don’t really drink enough of it in general).

My cousin, the other Hindu in my family, called and we talked about what the fast is like and how it’s different in India being with your whole family around you.

In the evening I got dressed up in a nice sari (my wedding lengha is still in Massachusetts with my parents. I forgot that I was going to want it this soon again!) I prepared my thali and I played the karva chauth story in Hindi on my ipod.

We had looked up what time moonrise was and it was supposed to be 8:59 pm.  Brad went out to Kabob Hut and picked up some dinner and galub jamon for us. We brought the bags outside along with some shawls for a picnic blanket and my thali. We got outside around 8:15 and waited, talking in the cold night air.

At 9:00 it wasn’t possible to see the moon as there were some trees and houses in the way. We anxiously waited for it. I realized that usually you see the moon and it’s lovely, but you don’t think a lot about it. I’ve never felt so excited to see the moon!

Finally Brad spotted it through the trees, large and orange. We gathered up my tray and chanted the chant, turned in a circle, and flicked water towards it five times. Then I picked up a tea strainer and looked at the moon through it, then turned it to Brad’s face. I knelt down and touched Brad’s feet and then he fed me a piece of galub jamon.

We went back to our picnic blanket and ate our food.

It was a wonderful experience and I’m really pleased with my first karwa chauth. It was not as difficult as I thought it would be!

In future years I’ll have to see if I can find some friends to do this with me! It would be nice to have a group of girls together for it.

About Ambaa

Ambaa is an American woman of European ancestry who is also a practicing Hindu. She is fascinated with questions of philosophy, culture, and the meaning of life. Join her in the journey to explore how a non-Indian convert to Hinduism experiences her religion.

  • Bhrata

    So Nice you both are looking beautiful..Did you completed fast without water and food? Wow..Hail feminine power.This day is to celebrate women will power and her faith..

    • Ambaa

      I did indeed! :D

  • http://amarchotoprithibi.blogspot.com/ Andrea

    Is that a septum ring??

    My husband’s family does not celebrate Karwa Chauth, and even if they did, I am not sure that I would. I ‘observed’ today by making healthy food for both of our long lives :)

    • Ambaa

      Yes, it’s a clip on septum ring which I have from my bharatnatyam dance costume.

      I admit I feel a little weird about this holiday. It’s so very…well, unfeminist.

      • http://amarchotoprithibi.blogspot.com/ Andrea

        Feminism looks different in different places. In urban India today, a lot of men fast with their wives; it’s kind of turned into Indian Valentine’s Day for married couples :)

        It’s also a nice time to get together with female friends and relatives, except all that Pati-Parmeshwar stuff gets a bit sticky for me. Husbands are to be worshiped as gods but everyone forgets that a new bride is Goddess Lakshmi in the home…

        • Ambaa

          I’d feel a lot better about it if the men were all fasting too!

          • Garvi Sheth

            Agreed. I also have those reservations about the holiday- not that there’s something bad about women fasting for the sake of their husbands, but I think the husbands should reciprocate. Devotion to one’s spouse is a wonderful thing, but to have it one-sided is awful!

            I know Brad is very good to you, obviously. And maybe fasting isn’t his way of showing devotion: I know that he shows his devotion to you in hundreds of other ways. I just wish Karwa Chauth had a counterpart for husbands- if not fasting, than something else similar.

            Actually, are there Hindu holidays and traditions in which husbands display devotion to their wives? Are there any that require a sacrifice like fasting? I don’t know of any, but I’d love to know if they exist!

          • Ambaa

            Brad was very good to me through the day. Since I didn’t have a mother-in-law here, he made me breakfast and he drove out to get us food.

            He’s a big guy, though, and I don’t think he’d do very well without food all day.

            He was also asking if there were a male equivalent to show devotion to a wife and I couldn’t think of one.

          • http://amarchotoprithibi.blogspot.com/ Andrea

            He can always fast with you!! :D There are no prohibitions against it!

          • Ambaa

            I brought up that idea, but he was not thrilled at the thought. lol. He gets pretty grouchy when he doesn’t have food. He did have to wait until 9:15 for dinner, though.

          • NGVHJ

            those practices which appear unjust & biased against women to you don’t practice them just boycott those.why get involved in a religion or practice which promotes the mindset of inequality.If you have doubts in religious/cultural practices then whats the purpose of u practicing it with doubts in your mind don’t do it just for satisfaction of others.if u doubt some1 how can u belevein him .if u doubt hindu god exists how can u pray to him & expect his blessings

          • Garvi Sheth

            I agree with you 100%. If a ritual or practice makes you uncomfortable or isn’t meaningful to you, there’s no point in doing it. (If I felt forced to fast for the sake of someone else, and they took it for granted, I would really hate it and resent the person! But I know that Ambaa observed Karwa Chauth of her own choosing, and Brad was devoted and appreciative.)
            I think the idea behind Karwa Chauth, and the concept of a holiday celebrating devotion to your spouse, is wonderful. I’d just feel more comfortable if it were equal, rather than only for women to do.

          • ashutosh

            I don’t looked it as Feminism Issue as people make it to be. I as a boy started fasting for religious Functions just because mother used to fast and my father didn’t because he couldn’t. I have a great deal of respect for women for there are many things only they can do but that does not lowers my respect for my father because there are many things i have learned from him. Don’t know why people see negative side of things.

        • 5w_haul

          its a punjabi thing became popular because of romanticise movies and soap-operas no one celebrate it in other parts of india.

          • Garvi Sheth

            What do you mean? Do you mean Karwa Chauth is only celebrated in Punjab, or that Punjab is the only region where men fast along with their wives?

          • Ambaa

            I’m pretty sure he means the festival itself is a purely Punjabi thing (I’m pretty sure it started out that way but is spreading in popularity because of movies)

          • http://amarchotoprithibi.blogspot.com/ Andrea

            Mehendi is a similar thing; Bengali brides used to never put mehendi at their weddings. Instead they would wear alta, a red dye. Today though I have never seen a bride without mehendi at any Indian wedding I have been to or seen photographed, besides Christian ones.

          • Ambaa

            I do it because my cousin does it. Her mother-in-law is Punjabi and so I’ve gotten a few of those traditions that way.

          • 5w_haul

            nice

          • http://amarchotoprithibi.blogspot.com/ Andrea

            It would be so great for you two to celebrate together!

          • Ambaa

            It would be. She’s in MA and I’m in MD, but she did call me and we chatted for a while!

  • Garvi Sheth

    Glad that it went well! I’ve never done a fast without water (only without food): props for managing it so well.
    The picnic sounds lovely. Also you look really pretty, especially in that last photo.

    • Ambaa

      Thanks! The picnic was SO romantic!

  • drishtikone

    Thanks for sharing, Ambaa! I love your personal experiences articulated so beautifully in the posts. Keep it going! :)

    • Ambaa

      Thank you! I’m trying to do a lot of personal posts to show how I express Hinduism in my every day life :)

  • 5w_haul

    @garvisheth:disqus
    karwa chauth is used to be celebrated among punjabis and its cultural festival not religious just like Gangaur and teej.

    • Garvi Sheth

      Thanks!

      • 5w_haul

        no worries

  • esha

    Hey I just want say something. Without being rude. You don’t need to dress in salwar kameez to be an hindu. Ive seen u dressing in indian clothing most times but you don’t need to as clothing doesn’t make you more of an hindu than others.
    But you look pretty.

    • Ambaa

      I agree! Indian clothes don’t make one a Hindu (though I LOVE Indian clothes!) I do find it good to wear Indian clothes when going to temple or bhajan singing as I fit in better that way and don’t appear as much to be a tourist!

      I do wear western clothes most of time, but I guess you guys never have a chance to see that :)

      • Shruti Sinha

        True, I would love to see you in western clothes….God bless

  • Amelia

    Congratulations on your first Karva Chauth! Looking really nice. Sounds like you had a great experience :-)
    Tc Amelia . http://Www.chaiacupoflife.com


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