Karva Chauth

Karva Chauth

Karva Chauth is a one-day festival performed by married women. They keep a fast from sunrise till moon rise, for the sake of their husband’s safety and good fortune.

This is one of the famous Hindu festivals of India and is mainly celebrated in the northern parts  along with other parts of the country. Karva Chauth is celebrated with full grandeur and strictly followed rituals.

Karva Chauth
Karva Chauth

When should I perform the Karva Chauth Pooja?

The word ‘Karva’ means ‘pot’ and ‘Chauth’ means ‘fourth’, hence Karva Chauth is celebrated on the fourth day of Krishna Paksha in the Kartik month. This is a pooja generally performed by the wives who keep fast for the good health and success of their husbands. The unmarried women also do it for their desired grooms.

The fast is then broken by drinking water from the ‘pot’ from the hands of their husbands. Nowadays the husbands too keep this fast for their wives because their is no such restriction to it.

What are the benefits of Karva Chauth?

  1. It is performed for the success, safety and long life of the husband.
  2. Unmarried women perform it to get a desired husband with good qualities.
  3. Women who are already engaged can do this pooja for a happy life after marriage and the well-being of their fiance.

Who should perform Karva Chauth?

The fast and puja of Karva Chauth is basically performed by the married women for the safety and prosperity of their husbands. Unmarried women can also perform the pooja for their fiance or those who are in search of a desired husband. The procedure is same in both the cases.

The pregnant ladies can also perform Karva Chauth. But there are few exceptions for them. As we know, they are not allowed to starve for too long and have to take proper diet too. Hence here are few tips for them to make their pooja easy still ritualistic.

  1. While having Sargi you can drink a big glass of milk and take the prescribed medicines.
  2. As you are not advised to starve in this condition for too long, you can make fruit salad and juice and have it during the fast if you feel acidity, discomfort or hunger.
  3. After concluding the pooja you can again take a big glass of milk.
Mehendi
Women decorate their hands with Mehendi for Karva Chauth

What are the requirements of Karva Chauth?

The materials required for Karva Chauth can be splited into two lists. One for the ‘Sargi’ and another for the ‘Karva Chauth Pooja’.

‘Sargi’ is the early morning ritual. In this ritual mother-in-laws usually cook some food items for the brides. This food is eaten by the married women before sunrise to keep a whole day fast. The mother-in-laws can also give gifts to the brides along with the ‘Sargi’.

For Sargi you will need:

  1. A sari mostly red in color (avoid colors like blue,grey and black).
  2. All items of sringar like jewelries, makeup, mehndi, bindi etc.
  3. Dry fruits, sweets, fruits etc.
  4. Mother-in-laws usually cook the food eaten by the bride before sunrise. If that’s not possible then the woman can cook the food by herself beforehand and eat it early in the morning.
Image of the Goddess
Goddess Parvati image worshipped during Karva Chauth

The second list is for the evening pooja called ‘Karva Chauth Pooja’ . This pooja is all about worshipping of ‘Maa Gauri’ or Goddess Parvati.

The pooja is performed by all married women for the good health and success of their husbands. Unmarried women can also be a part of the pooja to seek the blessings of the Goddess.

For the ‘Karva Chauth’ pooja you will need:

  1. Cow dung and mud to make the idol of Goddess Parvati or a photo/ready made idol of the goddess.
  2. A platform for placing the idol and doing the pooja.
  3. A book on the stories of Karva Chauth.
  4. Fruits and sweets as bhog for the Goddess.
  5. One small clay vessel or pot filled with water, also known as ‘Karva’.
  6. A plate (decorated as per your choice) to keep all the pooja articles like kukum (rouli), a bundle of red thread (mouli).
  7. Some sweets and fruits, a seive to see the moon, a small lamp (diya) with a cotton wick and oil or ghee, few beetel leaves and beetel nuts.
  8. Flowers and garlands.

How to perform Karva Chauth?

Karva Chauth is a one day festival with three parts namely ‘Sargi’, ‘Karva Chauth Pooja’ and the ‘Moon Worship’. Each ritual has its own importance and should be followed strictly with full devotion.

The early morning pooja or the Sargi:

  1. The preparations generally start from a day before the main karva chauth pooja. The day before the karva chauth is for ‘Sargi’, which is traditionally prepared by the mother-in-law for the bride. But those who are alone can make it by themselves.
  2.  You are free to cook anything except non vegetarian items and also do not use onion and garlic in your recipes.
  3. The day before the main pooja, take a head-bath and apply mehendi in your hands and legs. You can also apply alta in your legs.
  4. Wake up between 3.30 am to 4 am (i.e. before the sunrise), take a bath, dress up in a traditional wear and complete eating the Sargi before sunrise.
‘Sargi’ thali prepared by mother-in-laws for the brides

The Afternoon Pooja or the Maa Gauri/ Karva Chauth Pooja:

  1. Start cleaning the area of the house where you want to place the platform for the pooja at around 4 pm. Make a Swastik with wetted turmeric and place the platform there, surrounding which all the women are suppose to sit.
  2. Place the Karva chauth image or idol of Goddess Parvati on it. You can place the food offerings like fruits and the prepared deserts next to the Goddess and decorate the place with flowers and garlands.
  3. In the Karva Chauth thali or a plate keep a small bowl of raw rice grain, rouli, mouli, haldi powder, a glass of clean water or milk, a clean betel leaf and a betel nut, some flowers, sindoor and coins. Light up the incense sticks and diyas in front of the Goddess or image.
  4. Place the karva or clay pot. Fill it with milk or water, you can also put coins or metal coins into it. But remember the Karva has to be donated after the puja, hence decide accordingly.
  5. After filling it up cover it with its cover or plate, and put wheat and sugar on it or you can also keep 14 Maal-puas( a type of desert) on it. Apply rouli (red sandalwood powder) to the Karva and also tie the sacred red thread called mouli around the neck of the karva.
  6. Following this sprinkle Ganga jaal or milk on the image or Goddess with the help of mango leaves and apply rouli on the image or idol. Mix a pinch of haldi and raw rice and sprinkle it on the image or idol.
  7. Next all the women should exchange the karva with each other or pass it to each other in a circle and recite: “Karva le karva le sada suhaagan karva le. Karva le karva le saat bhai ki behen karva le.Karva le karva le saat putron ki maa karva le.”
  8. After this you should fold your hands in front of the image or idol and ask for forgiveness in case if you have committed any mistake in the pooja rituals unknowingly. With this the pooja rituals gets completed.
  9. Now generally, the eldest woman of the group narrates the ‘Karva Chauth Katha’ or if you are alone read it by yourself.
  10. During the narration of the story you should hold some rice grains in your fist and at the end keep it aside for donating it. Also keep the karva aside for donation or alternatively you can gift it along with other gifts like clothes,sweets, dry fruits etc to one of the older women in the group.
  11. Conclude the pooja by touching the feet of all the elders in the family and the group.

 

Karva Chauth Pooja
Married women should sit surrounding the ‘Karva’ and perform the pooja

The Evening Pooja or the Moon worship:

Moon worship

    Moon worship is the last ritual performed by the married women to conclude the pooja.
  1. You can change into different traditional clothes favorably red colored clothes.
  2.  Assemble the articles required for the worship of the moon. For that you need a small pot of clean drinking water, a plate with fruits, salted food items, sweets, money, a small bowl of rice grains, rouli, turmeric, a small diya with a wick and oil, and most importantly a sieve.
  3. Once the moon rises, you need to light up the diya and go to a place from where the moon
    is clearly visible. Your husband should accompany you. In case if he is absent you can do the rituals with a photograph of your husband.
  4. Worship the Moon God with the pooja thali with the lamp in it. Sprinkle a pinch of turmeric mixed with rice grains in the direction of the moon. Pour some water towards the moon into the ground before you. Remember to save some water in the pot needed to break your fast. Pray to the moon God with full devotion.
  5. After this balance the diya in the sieve and look at the moon through it and then look at your husband. Your husband should break your fast by first giving you some water from the pot and then feeding you with some food items from the pooja thali with his own hands. You can also seek the blessings of your husband by touching his feet.
  6. You can now give the pooja thaali to your mother-in-law or put it in front of the idol. Take the blessings from the elders of the family by touching their feet.
    And with this the Karva Chauth Pooja gets completed. Now you can happily eat with
    your family.
Seek blessings of the elders
After the pooja married women should seek blessings from all the elders.

What is the myth or legend behind Karva Chauth/Karva Chauth Katha?

India is a country of various cultures and its festivals. Interestingly each festival has a history or myth of its own which increases its importance and beliefs among the people following the culture. The karva Chauth festival too has a story behind its celebration which makes it a festival of love.

Tale of Queen Veervati:

There was a beautiful girl called Veervati. She was the sole sister of seven brothers, and got married to a King at a very tender age. After her marriage she kept her first Karva Chauth fast at her parents’ house.

As she was too young, she was unable to bear the thirst and hunger till moon rise as a result she fainted. Her brothers could not see their only beloved sister in pain. The brothers thought to play a trick on her and save her from further distress. They tied a mirror on a far situated Peepal tree and claimed its reflection to be moon and duped their sister.

Veervati believed her brothers and mistook the mirror’s reflection as moon and broke her fast with food and water. Just as she completed her dinner, she received the news of her husband’s death. She left her parents home immediately and rushed to see the king.

On her way, she met Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The Goddess told her the entire trick played by her brothers and,though unkowingly, how she committed a mistake by breaking her fast seeing a false moon. As a result of which her husband died.

Veervati realized her mistake and asked for forgiveness since it was not her fault. Goddess Parvati forgave her as the mistake was not completely hers and asked her too perform the Karva Chauth again by keeping a proper fast so that she can revive her husband.

Veervati took the oath of doing the Vrat again with full devotion and faithfully following all the rituals. And she did so too, as a result her husband got alive once again and they lived happily ever after.

Tale of Draupadi and Pandavas:

The reference of this Vrat is found in Mahabharat puran too, where Lord Krishna suggested Draupadi to perform the Karva Chauth Vrat to help her husbands overcome all their problems. She too kept the full day fast following the same rituals and got the desired results.

Tale of Karva:

It is believed that many years ago, there was a woman named Karva who immensely loved her
husband. One day while she was taking bath along with her husband on the banks of a river, a crocodile attacked her husband and caught him.

Karva’s immense love and devotion towards her husband gave her strength and she tied the crocodile with the help of a cotton yarn. She, after that, asked Lord Yamraj to punish the crocodile by sending it to hell and revive her husband but Yamraj refused.

Karva got extremely annoyed and threatened Yamraj to curse him for his destruction. Aware with powers of a Sativrata woman Yamraj immediately punished the crocodile and blessed her husband with a long life.

Hence from that incident that day is celebrated as Karva Chauth in memory of the Karva’s great and devoted love towards her husband.

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