Karva Chauth - For prosperity and well-being of your spouse
The fast of Karva Chauth is kept by Hindu women for the well-being, prosperity and longevity of their husbands. The festival, primarily observed in North on the fourth day after the full moon in Kartik month of Hindu Calender.
The festival of Karva Chauth was a day to celebrate the season of autumn and enjoy the company of friends and relatives. But later on, many mythological legends were added to give it a religious touch. This festival is glorified and widely solemnized by the Hindus. As the name signifies, Karva meaning a clay pot and chauth corresponding to the fourth, this festival is commemorated on the the fourth day after the Full Moon in Kartik month of Hindu calendar.
Usually, falling in the month of October, Karva Chauth is celebrated midst harvesting of summer crops. A ritual of fasting observed by married 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 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.
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 puja preparations start a day in advance. Married women buy the shringar or the traditional adornments and the other pooja items like the karva, matthi, heena etc. Early in the morning they prepare food and have it before sunrise. The morning passes by in other festive activities like decorating hand and feet with heena, decorating the puja thali and meeting friends and relatives. And it is usually followed by a puja.
In the evening women wear heavy saris 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. Once the moon rises, the women see its reflection in a thali of water, or through a dupatta or a sieve. They offer water to the moon and seek blessings. They pray for the safety, prosperity and long life of their husbands. The husband gifts new clothes and jewellery to the wife. In fact, as a gesture of love, many men equally partake in the fast with their spouses.