Karwa Chauth is a unique fasting festival witnessed only in India. This one-day festival is celebrated once a year, on the fourth day of the ‘Karthik’ month according to the Hindu calendar. The term ‘Karwa’ means earthen pot, which symbolizes peace and prosperity and ‘Chauth’ refers to ‘fourth day’. This festival is one of the many beloved occasions in India, where families and friends get together and enjoy. Many pooja rituals are performed on this day and several delicious dishes are prepared too. However, the ritual that forms a significant part of this festival is the fasting ceremony observed by married Hindu women. This sacrifice is performed for the well-being of their husbands and it takes place from sunrise to sunset. The aim behind the celebration of Karwa Chauth is an honorable one, and this has added interesting aspect to Indian culture. Love between the husband and wife and respect among their families, is what Karwa Chauth aims to achieve by the performance of these rituals.
The festivities can be noticed a few days before the festival, markets are full of items needed for the Karva Chauth Festival. Preparations start a week in advance. Women decorate their hands with intricate mehendi designs, appointments with beauty parlors are made jewelry and cloth merchants also do a good business as men give their wives gifts as jewelry or sarees. The Day begins with the women getting up before sunrise and worship the Gods for longevity and prosperity of their husbands and children. Mothers-in-laws give their daughters-in-laws sumptuous food called ‘Sargi’. They have to eat it before sunrise, as the fast starts before sunrise. The fast is tough, as women do not take any food or water. In the evening, women cherish the joy of dressing up in adorning fine clothes. They receive the baya or a basket full of goodies. Before sun set, most of the women in a locality gather at one place and do a puja and the rituals associated with the puja. They pray for the long life and safety of their husbands. While chanting prayers, they pass their bayas from one to another.
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