To Your Long Life: the Karwa Chauth fast [Hindu Holiday]

Tomorrow is Karwa Chauth, a one day fast observed by women (mostly in Northern India). I’d say it’s kind of the Hindu Valentine’s Day although it has more of a focus on the bonding between women. It is a time when wives fast and pray for the long life and prosperity of their husbands. Unmarried women sometimes observe the fast for the sake of a future husband.

This is a big day for me, as my first Karwa Chauth as a new bride! “The first Karwa Chauth is an exceptionally important occasion for the new bride as an opportunity to strengthen the eternal bond between husband and wife.” -http://www.karwachauthgifts.com/first-karwa-chauth.html This ritual has long been a way for a new wife to become comfortable in her new family with her mother- and sister-in-laws.

Here is my post on  how my first Karva Chauth went!

How to Observe

1) Sargi. The women eat a meal pre-dawn of fruits, sweets, bread and fried potato. After this meal the women do not eat for the entire day (no water or drink either).

2) Women receive gifts from their mothers and mother-in-laws.

3) Women dress up, sometimes in their wedding clothing.

4) Henna is done on one’s hands and the day is spent in socializing with female friends and relatives. Time is spent decorating the thali for that evening (plates for puja). On the thali, have sindoor powder, water in a pot, dry fruits and nuts, an earthern lamp (diya) and sweets.

More info: http://www.zimbio.com/Shopping+for+Gifts/articles/lAYjcoSpagQ/Karwa+Chauth+Thali

5) Women of the household, and sometimes the neighborhood, get together for a puja in the evening and the eldest woman tells stories about wives who were able to change the destiny of their husbands through great devotion and fasting. (See below). The decorated thalis are passed around and women bless each other’s. (Punjabi women sing Veero Kudiye Karwada. See below) In the center of the women there is a mud pot symbolizing lord Ganesha. There will also be an idol of Parvati.

6) Around sundown the women put a pot of water and a light on a tray and carry it outside along with a fine-mesh sieve. The husbands are also there. When the moon rises, the women look at it through the sieve, and then look at their husbands through the sieve. The women offer water to the moon (there is a song for this, see below) and their husbands feed them the first bite to break their fast. (Also the moon can be looked at through a thin dupatta or the reflection in the pot of water).

7) There is then a grand feast.

Karwa Chauth Stories

Here are some stories from http://www.karwachauthgifts.com/karwa-chauth-legends.html


The Legend Of Queen Veervati

Queen Veervati, the only sister of seven brothers, came to her parent’s house to celebrate her first Karwa Chauth. She followed the ritual of observing fast after sunrise and was keenly awaiting the appearance of moon. In mid-way, she developed strong craving for food and water. Seeing her anguish, her brothers placed a mirror in a peepal tree that made it look like a moon. Queen Veervati mistook the mirror for moon and ended her fast. Soon after this, a message arrived that her husband had died. Inconsolable, Queen rushed back to her husband’s house. Along the way, Lord Shiva and his consort, Parvati appeared before her and told her that she had been deceived by her brothers. Queen then pleaded for forgiveness. Shiva and Parvati assured queen that her husband would be brought back to life only when she observes strict fast ritual. This time Queen followed the ritual strictly and was able to redeem her husband’s life from death.

The Legend Of Satyavan and Savitri
This legend entails the story of a strong-willed woman Savitri, who fought with destiny to bring her husband back to life. Lord Yama came to the door of Savitri looking for Satyavan’s soul, as he completed his time on earth. Savitri pleaded for her husband’s life. When Yama begged off the request, Savitri ceased to take any food and water. Yama then pledged to grant her any wish except the life of her husband. Savitri then requested Yama to bless her with children. Since Savitri was a devoted wife who would never allow any other man to be father of her children, Yama had no other option but to bring back the life of her husband.

The Legend From Mahabharata
In Mahabharata, at one time Arjuna had left for Nilgiris and in his absence, Pandava brothers faced lot of troubles. Draupadi sought help from Lord Krishna where he advised her to observe Karwa Chauth citing tales of Shiva and Parvati. Draupadi followed the instructions of Lord Krishna by observing Karwa Chauth. Finally, Pandavas were able to get rid of the problems.

The Legend Of Karva
This legend entails the story of devoted Karva, who was bestowed with special powers because the deep love towards her husband. Once, her husband was seized by crocodile while taking bath on the banks of river. Karva rushed to the river and tied the crocodile with cotton yarn and pleaded Yama (the Lord of death) to send the crocodile to hell. When Yama refused, she warned that she would curse Yama. Knowing about her special powers, Yama relented and sent the crocodile to hell. Thus Karva was able to reunite with her loving husband.

Here is the first story narrated in Hindi:

YouTube Preview Image

Songs

Veero Kudiye Karwada (Thali Song)

“Veero Kudiye Karwada,
Sarv Suhagan Karwada,
A Katti Na Ateri Naa,
Kumbh Chrakhra Feri Naa,
Gwand Pair payeen Naa,
Sui Che Dhaga Payeen Naa
Ruthda maniyen Naa,
Suthra Jagayeen Naa,
Bhain Pyari Veeran,
Chan Chade Te Pani Peena
Ve Veero Kuriye Karwara,
Ve Sarv Suhagan Karwara……. (6)”

“Veero Kudiye Karwada,
Sarv Suhagan Karwada,
Aye Katti Naya Teri Nee,
Kumbh Chrakhra Feri Bhee,
Aar Pair payeen Bhee,
Ruthda maniyen Bhee,
Suthra Jagayeen Bhee,
Ve Veero Kuriye Karwara,
Ve Sarv Suhagan Karwara…….”

Variations can be heard here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LR1wQZQ5OiM and here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uKIOpFRB8w

Moon Song

Sir Dhadi,
Paer Kadi,
Ark Dendi,
Sarv Suhagan,
Chaubare Khadi

Repeat five times, turning completely around five times.

Prayer for Husband

Addey-addey Krishna pakshe var
Tith Karva Chauth
Manse hain apne suhag ke liye
Yeh karva, mattri, halwa, sari, nagdi
Apne suhag ka liye rani ka sa raj dena
Gaur ka sa suhag dena Shri Krishna nimant.

 I had a lot of trouble finding any of these on YouTube, so how to sing them is not clear to me.

More info:

YouTube Preview Image

A home celebration that someone recorded, this is the puja part

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.

  • 5w_haul

    good luck


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