the fast of Karwa Chauth is of particular importance to all Hindu married women in India. They believe that the festival ensures prosperity, longevity and well-being of their husbands. The origin of this festival was based on a very sweet and noble idea. Though this idea has lost its true sense as today the whole outlook of this festival has changed.
In the ancient time, girls used to get married at a very early stage, and had to go and live with their in-laws in other villages. After marriage, if she faces any problem with her in-laws or her husband, she would have no one to talk to or seek support from. There used to be no telephones, buses and trains long ago. Her own parents and relatives would be quite far and unreachable. Thus the custom started that, at the time of marriage, when bride would reach her in-laws, she would befriend another woman there who would be her friend or sister for life. It would be like god-friends or god-sisters. Their friendship would be sanctified through a small Hindu ceremony right during the marriage.
Once the bride and this woman had become god-friends or god-sisters, they would remain so all their lives and recognize the relation as such. They would also treat each other like real sisters.
Later in life, if she faces any difficulty related to her husband or in-laws, she would be able to confidently talk or seek help from each other. Thus, Karwa Chauth was started to as a festival to celebrate this relationship between the once-brides and their god-friends (god-sisters). Fasting and praying for husband came later and is secondary. It was probably added, along with other mythical tales, to enhance the festival. The husband would always be associated with this festival, because the day of starting this holy friendship between two god-sisters was essentially the day of bride’s marriage to him. Thus, praying and fasting for him by his wife during a celebration of her relationship with the god-friend would be quite logical.
Hence, the festival of Karwa Chauth was to renew and celebrate the relationship between god-friends (god-sisters). It had a tremendous social and cultural significance when world was not having the way to communicate and move around easily.
Karwa Chauth festival has an extraordinary observance rate among married women in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat. This is a significant day for married women as they keep fast for the long-life and well-being of of their husbands. The way of celebrating Karwa Chauth vary from each other on regional basis.
Punjab : The festival of Karwa chauth is one of the most important festival for married women in Punjab. Few days before this auspicious festival, all the markets in Punjab gets flooded with various accessories and decorative items including bangles, beautiful sarees, embroidered suits, stalls of sweets and eatables. Number of artists from different cities like Agra, Jaipur, Delhi, etc gather here with their special mehndis to decorate hands of women. In some parts of Punjab, young damsels too keep the fast in the hope of winning a loving husband.
The day of Karva Chauth is celebrated mostly amongst the entire North Indian community settled either in India and other parts of the world. The most important aspect of this day is that a dawn to dusk fast is undertaken by the North Indian ladies and seeing the moon they finally break the fast. The Karva Chauth fast is unique perhaps because nowhere in the world does a wife go without food or water just to pray for the longevity and well-being of her husband.
In modern day, with all the trappings of commercialization attached, Karva Chauth, the big fasting day has turned into a full-fledged event. The event is growing bigger with each passing day. Karva Chauth celebrations promise to grow bigger with each passing year. The Halwais, the Mehendi and Churiwallis have traditionally been busy on this auspicious day. But joining the bandwagon in recent times are the beauty parlour owners, the event managers and the restaurant owners.
Karva Chauth special eateries are gearing up for now. Cashing in on the popularity of
‘eating out’ most restaurants have special menus for this special day. No wonder almost every happening-eating joint around town is offering plenty of attractive options to choose from. Various clubs organize special events on this festive day with various stalls, bumper Tambola and even a dance competition. With so much feasting and fun added to it, fasting had never been so good before.
Tradition of Fast
In Hindu Dharam, the goal of life is Self-realization or the attainment of God and fasting has been a much sought after path to attain this. All Hindu fast have a deep spiritual and religious significance. According to Hindu scriptures, fasting helps create an attachment with the God by establishing a harmonious relationship between the body and the soul. This is thought to be imperative for the well being of a human being as it nourishes both his/her physical and spiritual demands.
Karwa Chauth Fast
‘Karwa Chauth’ is a ritual of fasting observed by married Hindu women seeking the longlife, well-being and prosperity of their husbands. Married women keep a strict fast and do not take even a drop of water. It is the most important and difficult fast observed by married Hindu women. It begins before sunrise and ends only after offering prayers and worshiping the moon at night. No food or water can be taken after sunrise. The fast is broken once the moon is sighted and rituals of the day have been performed. At night when the moon appears, women break their fast after offering water to the moon.
Importance Of Fasting
Hindus believe it is not easy to unceasingly pursue the path of spirituality in one’s daily life. Therefore a worshiper must strive to impose restrains on to get the mind focused. And one form of restraint is fasting. However, fasting is not only a part of worship, but a great instrument for self-discipline too. It is a training of the mind and the body to endure and harden up against all hardships, to persevere under difficulties and not give up.
The ancient Indian medical system of Ayurveda sees the basic cause of many diseases as the accumulation of toxic materials in the digestive system. Regular cleansing of toxic materials keeps one healthy. By fasting, the digestive organs get rest and all body mechanisms are cleansed and corrected. A complete fast is good for heath, and the occasional intake of warm lemon juice during the period of fasting prevents the flatulence..
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