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 origin of Karwa Chauth is explained in the following lines.
Karva Chauth History and Origin
For the married Hindu women in northern and western regions in India, this festival is not just another festive occasion, but has a symbolical value to their lives. They believe that their fasting throughout the day will secure fortune, prosperity and long lives for their husbands. This fasting festival is based on an ancient story.
During the ancient times in India, girls were married off at young ages and according to tradition, they had to leave their own houses and stay with their in-laws. These girls had no one but their god-sisters, with whom they could speak to. On the bride's wedding day, a small Hindu ceremony would take place, where one woman became their god-sister for eternity. These other women became their sisters for life and they shared a pure and sanctified bond of friendship. Each bride had her own god-sister and they would help each other in times of hardship, sharing their thoughts and problems with one another. Thus, the festival of Karwa Chauth was originally created for those reasons, to celebrate the bond of friendship and sisterhood.
As years passed, the Karwa Chauth festival evolved and the fasting ritual for the longevity and wealth of husbands became the main part of this festival. However, the husband is always linked to this festival for the reason that, the bride would develop a sisterly bond with the woman who will become their god-sister, only on the day of her marriage. It makes sense that today all the married women, fast and pray together, during the celebration of this festival, as this also symbolizes friendship and sisterhood.
With the addition of mythical stories soon after, Karwa Chauth became a very religious one, which enriched the significance of this festival. The narration of many tales representing the importance festival also became a long-standing custom, followed even today. Various pooja rituals and traditions formed integral features of this festival over the passage of time.
Today, Karwa Chauth festival is celebrated as a special day of love between husband and wife. The rituals and tales made this festival all the more interesting and widespread, which encouraged many communities in India to celebrate this special fasting festival. The festival was also popularized through Bollywood films, which made a great impact on the Indian people.