Sweets for Your Sweet at the Karva Chauth Festival
Karva Chauth Festival 2012:
When it happens: Friday, 2nd November 2012
Where it happens: Northern part of India
Karva Chauth is an annual festival celebrated Hindu and some Sikh married women in India. Women fast from sunrise to moonrise to pray for a happy married life and longevity of their husbands. Unmarried women also participate in the fasting to pray for their betrothed or desired husbands. This festival takes place on the fourth day after the full moon. This year’s Karva Chauth Festival 2012 will be held on the second November of 2012.
Traditions and Celebrations
Pre-celebrations for the festival involve the buying of cosmetics, jewelries, and puja items such as karwa lamps, henna and the puja thali (plate). This is the time for shop keepers to decorate their local bazaars in a festive look as they adorn their shops with Karva Chauth products for display. During the day of fasting, women wake up early, cover their heads wih pink or red duppatta and pray for the longevity of their husbands.
After this they touch the feet of their mothers-in-law, seeking her blessings then they all eat and drink before sunrise while some consume soot feni with milk in sugar on the eve of the occasion. This consumption helps the women go without water the next day. The sargi, an important part of the pre-dawn meal that always include the fenia, is customary given by the mother-in-law. If the mother-in-law lives with the woman, the mother-in-law should be the one preparing it. During the day, the fasting woman does not eat, drink water, and they should do no housework either.
It is customary for daughters-in-law to buy gifts such as new clothes for their mothers-in-law and the mothers-in-law must, in turn, present them with the same kind of gifts. During the evening, there is a ceremony held for community women only. It is here that the women dress in complete finery of their wedding dresses or in their finest clothing complete with jewelry and henna. Auspicious colors such as red, gold and orange are commonly used in their dresses. Each region or community’s version of the story of Karva Chauth is then narrated by an older woman or priest.
Ritual at Moon Rise
After the end of the puja, women wait for the moon rise in able to end their fasting. After the moon is sighted by one of the family or community members, the women bring their puja thali and a sieve to see the moon through this sieve, they then offer rice and water to the moon while praying for their husband’s longevity then ending their fasting by drinking water. With the fast broken, they can now eat sweets to celebrate the successful culmination of their fasting and afterwards a lavish feast begins.
Karva Chauth signifies the married woman’s devotion and faithfulness to her husband and to acquire blessings from her husband’s mother ̶ the same woman who underwent the same ritual long before her. It is a cycle of paying respects and showing of devotion. Truly, this event shows the sweetness between husbands and wives with sweets.