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Karwa Chauth: Origin, Significance, Rituals, Puja


Written on 9:31 PM by Reethi

Welfare and well being of thier husbands' has always been paramount to any Indian married woman. Kartik ki Chauth, Karwa Chauth is a day when women across the nation undertake a fast and offer prayers seeking the welfare, prosperity, well being and longevity of their husbands. It is probably the most important fast undertaken by women of North India. Observed mostly by North Indians, the event of Karwa Chauth is gaining more popularity with each passing day. The festivities surrounding Karwa Chauth encourage people to gather and socialize with friends and family, exchange gifts and share home-cooked meals. The gifts exchanged on this occasion reflects joy, splendor, brightness and happiness of a married life.

Origin of Karwa Chauth:

The Legend of Mahabharata
The belief in this fast and its associated rituals goes back to the pre-Mahabharata times. Draupadi, too, is said to have observed this fast. Once Arjun went to the Niligiris for penance and the rest of the Pandavas faced many problems during his absence. Draupadi, out of desperation, remembered Lord Krishna and asked for help. Lord Krishna reminded her that on an earlier occasion, when Goddess Parvati had sought Lord Shiva’s guidance under similar circumstances, she was advised to observe the fast of Karva Chauth. Draupadi followed the instructions and observed the fast with all its rituals. Consequently, the Pandavas were able to overcome their problems.

The story of Veeravati
Long time ago, there lived a beautiful girl by the name of Veeravati. She was the only sister of her seven loving brothers, who was married to a king. On the occasion of the first Karva Chauth after her marriage, she went to her parents' house. After sunrise, she observed a strict fast. However, the queen couldn't stand the rigors of fasting and was desperately waiting for the moon to rise. The seven brothers, who loved her dearly, were very disturbed watching the distress of their sister and decided to end her fast by deceiving her. Then the brothers reflected a mirror through Pipal tree leaves. The sister, mistook it as a moon, broke the fast and took food. However, the moment the queen ate her dinner, she received the news that her husband, the king, was seriously ill The queen rushed to her husband's palace and on the way, she met Lord Shiva and his consort, Goddess Parvati. Parvati informed her that the king had died because the queen had broken her fast by watching a false moon. However, when the queen asked her for forgiveness, the goddess granted her the boon that the king would be revived. But to achieve this, she would have to undertake the Karva Chauth fast under strict rituals, and then only her husband would come to life. Thus, by strictly following all the rituals of Karva chauth, Queen Veeravati was able to bring back her husband’s life.

The Story of Satyavan and Savitri
According to the story of Satyavan and Savitri, when Lord Yama, came to procure Satyavan's soul, Savitri begged him to grant him life. When he refused, she stopped eating and drinking and Yamraj finally

The Legend of Karva
According to another legend, a woman named Karva was deeply devoted to her husband. One day while bathing, he was caught by a crocodile. Karva came running and bound the crocodile with a cotton yarn. She then went to Yama, the Lord of the death, and requested him to send the offending crocodile to hell. When Yama refused, she threatened to curse him. Afraid of the power of a devoted wife, Yama readily accepted and sent the crocodile to Yamalok or hell, and blessed Karva's husband with long life.

What you require for Karwa Chauth?

* A set of new clothes
* Platform for the puja
* Cowdung to make the image of the goddess
* Tika
* Nath
* Sindur
* A strand of red thread
* Karva (vessel containing water)
* A plate
* Cash
* Other Puja items
* Sargi: which includes pheni (a sweet made of milk and semolina), a dish made of some cereal like parantha , sweets and fruits
* Ten matthis with ten puas (a sweet made of jaggery)
* Halwa
* Mehndi (Henna) on palms and feet.
* Colourful glass bangles.
* Makeup items like Bindi, sindoor, lipstick, rouge, kajal, eye-liner, mascara etc.
* Jewelry - Mangalsutra, maangtika, rings, bangles, necklace, earrings, payal, toe-rings, nosepin etc.
* Baya (gifts for the mother-in-law - ideally, a sari)

The fast begins before sunrise and ends after worshipping the moon. Once the moon rises, the women see its reflection in a thali of water, or through a dupatta or a sieve. The day marks the woman's effort to pray for the safety, prosperity and long life of their husbands.

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1 Comment

  1. Pradip Bhattacharya |

    nowhere in Mahabharata does Draupadi observe Karwa Chauth, nor does Arjuna ever go to Niligiris. Savitri has nothing to do with it either.


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