Celebrated in the North Indian belt, this is a festival that reflects eternal love between a man and his wife. This is the day when married women keep a fast throughout the day for the well being and longevity of their husband’s life.
In ancient times this was the time for men to go out and explore new boundaries or fight a war. The women who generally were at home would pray for their safety.
The fourth day of Karthik month also holds significance as going by mythology Goddess Parvati had kept the same fast for achieving the love of Lord Shiva. Later, during Mahabharata times, at the behest of Lord Krishna, Draupadi had kept the same fast for the well being of Arjun and her other husbands who were facing tough challenges.
This is however, also the time to harvest the crops therefore women also pray to Mother Earth (and that’s why the Karva) for peace and prosperity.
Solah Shringaar or 16 types/steps of beautification is a very important part of the Karva Chauth festival. On this day, women adorned with their Shringaar, pray to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati to bless and protect their husbands from any adversaries.
Married women observe a fast during which they don’t even drink water on this day. They open their fast in the evening only after moon sighting and praying to the Moon and Shiva–Parvati. Women sit in a circle in the evening and offer their gratitude for all that they are blessed with. In the centre, earthen pot is established. It is filled up with Gangajal and is symbolic of Lord Ganesha. A pious thread is tied around the pots neck. Alternatively, one can also use betel nut and tie Mauli (yellow coloured pious thread) around it and place it on top of rice grains. This also becomes symbolic of Lord Ganesha.
Goddess Gaura is made from yellow mud and a small ball of mound with a triangular top. One can also keep a copper coin representing her. It should also be tied around with yellow thread and a small vermillion bindi should be pasted on it. This manifestation of Goddess Gauri and has to be placed on the left side of Lord Ganesha. Two flowers representing Lord Kartikeya and Nandishwar are also placed with them. Fill another plate with rice grains and place deities of Lord Shiva and Ma Parvati on it and keep it behind Ma Gaura and Lord Ganpati. One can also make Ma Parvati with turmeric and wheat flour paste on a hard paper board. Then decorate this manifestation with beads, garlands, anklets etc.
Place two earthen pots in front of all the idols - one filled with water and a coin (preferably a silver coin) and another filled with dryfruits, sweets etc. place the picture of moon on the right side of Lord Ganesha. After praying to these deities for the wellbeing of one’s husband and the clan, women who are sitting in the circle, pass on the karva plate to each other singing folk songs related to the fast.
In the evening, one offers prayers to the Moon through a sieve and then looks at her husband’s face through it. The fast is broken after the prayers are offered to Moon. The following moon mantra should be chanted five times while sighting the moon:
Decorate a plate with various laces, mirror work, Gotas and Zaris. Keep a earthen pot in the centre filled up with Ganga jal. Place Diya, Roli, rice grains, vermillion, flowers etc on the right side of the plate and on the left side of the plate one should keep various sweets, fruits, dry fruits etc.
For your convenience, I have compiled a list of various types of sweets that would enhance the effects of your prayers when you offer them to your husband after the puja.
Colour Of Sweet
Boondi Laddo, Shrikhand
Strawberry Flavoured,Almond Burfi
Moong Ki Burfi
Kaju Katli/ Kheer
Orange Rajbhog ,Walnut Burfi or Laddoo
Light Brown/ Orange
Pure Pista Burfi
Almond Kheer /Honey and strawberry Flavored sweet
besan laddoo,Mango papdi
Light Green /Orange
Rasgulla, Peanut Burfi,Bengali Sweets
Coconut Burfi with Kesar
For women fasting on Karva Chauth, here is a list according to your Sun Sign that contain the colours you should wear and the flowers that you should adorn yourself with.
Rose, Bell Shaped
Chameli & Green Leaves
Bela, Water Lily
Wishing all of you a Happy Karva Chauth!!
Did you find this article useful, share it with your friends.