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Karva Chauth 2015

Karva Chauth 2015

   Karva Chauth

Karva Chauth is observed in India by Hindu, Sikh and Kashmiri Muslim married women (suhagini) for ensuring wedded bliss and wishing long life for their husbands and children. It is celebrated on the fourth night after the full Moon in the month of kartik in the Hindu calendar. This year Karva Chauth is on Friday, the 30th October 2015. Karva Chauth varta signifies extreme love and devotion to the husband and observed for his well being. The fast of Karva Chauth is of particular importance to Hindu married women as they believe it ensures the well-being, prosperity and longevity of their husbands.

The importance of varta of Karva Chauth according to Vaman Puran:
   एंव व्रतं या कुरुते नारी सौभाग्यकाम्यया |
   सौभाग्य पुत्रपौत्रदि लभते सुस्थिरां श्रियम् |



On Karva Chauth vrata a kalash is filled with either milk or water. In that kalash,  Pancha Ratna (five pieces of different metals gold, silver, copper, brass and iron) is placed. The kalash is exchanged with other married women then presented to a Brahmin. While presenting the kalash, a prayer is offered to Lord Ganesh: "Let the offerings of this Karva bring long life to my husband and may my saubhagya be everlasting". Then Katha is narrated in a group that involve telling and listening to stories regarding origin of Karwa Chauth.

Women observing Karva Chauth start their fast the whole day. In the evening they dress in their best clothing, and adorn themselves with jewellery and henna. They breaks the fast at night just after the appearance of the moon, within sight of their husbands. On sighting the moon, they look and offer prayers and worship to it, and then receive their first bite of food and water from their husbands. In some traditions they wait until the next night's moonrise to begin the fast breaking ceremonies, without consuming any food or drink. There are some variations within regions, groups, and communities in India about rituals of starting and breaking the fast, and worshipping the moon.

Henna or Mehendi on Karva Chauth

  Henna or Mehendi , considered to be auspicious for married women, is a necessary part of the ‘Karva Chauth’ ritual. Women get intricate henna designs applied on their hands before they get down to the actual rituals.

      Mehndi in women hands

  Women prefer glitter and coloured mehendi for festivals like ‘Karva Chauth’.
  Most traditional henna patterns are based on very simple shapes - circles, triangles and lines are the most basic. These shapes can be combined to create a very intricate pattern and a very beautiful henna design. It is believed that married woman who get dark colour from mehendi will get a loads of love and caring from her groom. It also denotes prosperity and good luck.

The art of decorating hands and feet with henna has been in vogue for the past 5,000 years. The delicate and intricate Rajasthani mehendi designs have been a traditional favourite and most popular. Glitter mehendi is another variation quite popular with the newly wedded women.

  Stories related to Karva Chauth:

There are several stories related to Karva Chauth:
  Story 1:    Once, there lived a beautiful princess by the name of Veeravati. Veerawati married to king, is said to have had seven brothers. Once during the days of ‘kartik’, she returned to her paternal home. One day she decided to observe a fast for the well being of her husband. Praying to Lord Shiva, she vowed to not have anything, till she saw moon in the evening. But being born a princess, she could not withstand the travails of a fast for long. She was on the verge of fainting and her brothers could not withstand her plight. They played a ruse and showed her a pan flickering through the ‘pipal’ tree, which the young woman took to be the moon.

She broke her fast and had a meal. Immediately, she received the bad news that her husband had taken ill. She hurried back to her palace, where she came to know of the king’s demise. As she started wailing inconsolably, Lord Shiva (शिव) and Parvati could not bear her anguish and rushed to her respite
  Parvati told the bereaved woman that her husband would rise to life, if she observed a proper fast. As soon as she observed a fast according to the biddings of the Goddess, her husband came back to life.

  Story 2: 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 or hell, and blessed Karva's husband with long life.

  Story 3 It is believed that Drapudi had sought the well being of Pandavas from Lord Kisnna . Lord Krishna had advised her to observe fast and pray to Lord Shiva on the day of Karva Chauth. Draupadi did likewise and Pandavas emerged victorious in all their campaigns.

Traditional Karva Chauth Puja

In Rajasthan women wear  chunries in red , pink or other bridal colors, and adorn themselves with all other symbols of a married women like, nose pin, tika, bindi, bangles, earrings etc. They assemble in morning after bath  and the stories are told by older women in the family which include the stories of Karwa Chauth, Shiv-Parvati and Ganesh.. Now just an idol of Goddess Parwati is kept. Every one lights an earthen lamp in their thalis while listening to the Karwa story. Sindoor, incense sticks and rice are also kept in the thali.

In Punjab women get up early in the morning and eat food prepared by their mother-in-law. Women assemble in a group and listen the  karwa chauth story. Before listening of the karwa chauth story a special mud pot, that is considered a symbol of lord Ganesha, a metal urn filled with water, flowers, idols of Ambika Gaur Mata, Goddess Parwati and some fruits, mathi and food grains arranged. A part of this is offered to the deities and the storyteller. They sit in a circle, and  the thalis are passed in a circle (fera) amongst themselves and the puja song sung by Punjabi women, while they exchange thalis seven times.

  Puja wishing long life for their husbands

  In the early morning of Karva Chauth after taking bath perform the following Puja wishing long life for their husbands and children.   In front of the idol or photo of Lord Shiva and Parvati place Gaurishankar Rudraksh in a silver plate, light an earthen lamp or deepak with pure ghee and recite the Mantra with rudraksh mala.

 देहि सौभाग्यं आरोग्यं देहि मे परमं सुखम् |
रुपं देहि जयं देहि यशो देहि द्विषो जहि ||
सर्व मंगल मांगल्यै शिवे सवार्थ साधिके |
शरण्ये त्रयंबके गौरी नारायणी नमोस्तुते ||

After chanting mantra touch Rudraksh mala to your head and again recite the following mantra three times.

ॐ त्रयभ्बकं यजामहे सुगन्धिं पुष्टि वर्धनम |
उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनात् मृत्योर्मुक्षीय मामृतात ||

  Sikhism and Karva Chauth 

   Sikh doctrine opposes austerities and ritualism for spiritual benefit, including the concepts of pilgrimage and fasting. The Adi Granth  (verse 1136) says, "I do not keep the fast (vrat) nor Ramadan. I serve only the One who will save me in the end."  In addition to registering their disagreement, in Guru Granth Sahib , on the religious/spiritual aspects of fasting, they specifically rejected the idea of  Karva Chauth : ਛੋਡਹਿ ਅੰਨੁ ਕਰਹਿ ਪਾਖੰਡ ॥ ਨਾ ਸੋਹਾਗਨਿ ਨਾ ਓਹਿ ਰੰਡ ॥ (She who partakes in forsaking grain and doing such a hypocrisy is neither married nor widowed, from AGGS, p873). 
  However, despite this  condemnation, Karva Chauth has "become a part of Sikh life", and a survey of Sikh women in the United Kingdom found that "Karva Chauth, a fast kept to secure the long life of husbands, was popular among Sikh women." 

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