Karva Chauth 2013
KARVA CHOUTH 2013 - 22nd OCTOBER
Karva Chouth, the most auspicious festival for women that happens 9 days prior Diwali. Karva Chouth observed in North Indian states. Fasting observed by married women of the family from morning to nightfall for the long life of the husband.
Story on Karva Chouth
There are many legends related to the Karva Chauth. Some of the popular legends are given below:
Long time ago, in a glorious kingdom, lived a princess called Veervati. She was the only sister of her seven brothers. As she grew into young woman, she was married off to a mighty king. As per tradition, Queen Veervati returned to her parent's house to celebrate her first Karva Chauth after the marriage. On this auspicious occasion, she followed the ritual of observing Vrat (fast) for her beloved husband at dawn. In late afternoon, she developed severe pangs of hunger and thirst that the queen almost fainted. Her body constituents were too weak to endure severity of fasting ritual which she needed to observe until dusk, that is, till sighting of moon. Her seven brothers, who loved Veervati immensely, could not see the anguish of their only sister. So, they decided to place a mirror in a peepal tree that made it look like a moon. As queen Veervati was keenly awaiting the appearance of moon, she mistook the mirror for moon and ended her fast.
As soon as queen Veervati broke her fast and ate her evening meal, she received a shocking message that her husband died. Inconsolable, the queen rushed back to her husband's house. Along the way, Lord Shiva and his consort Goddess Parvati appeared before her and told her that she had been deceived by her brothers. The glow of light she had seen was not from moon. Queen Veeravati then pleaded for forgiveness. Shiva and Parvati assured queen that her husband would be brought back to life only when she observes strict fast ritual. They further added that her husband would be ill for some time. So, when queen Veervati arrived at the palace, she saw her husband lying in coma with scores of needles pierced in his body. Queen was able to pull out one piece of needle from king's body daily. In the following year on the day of Karva Chauth, queen Veervati was full of hope since only one needle is left on her husband's body. Unlike previous year, she was bent on following the rituals strictly and set out to purchase essentials required for Karva Chauth puja. In this brief intervening period, her maid took off the last needle from king's body and as a result king came out of coma. However, king misjudged the maid as his queen. No need to say that queen Veervati was shocked by this. Despite this, queen remained devoted and observed her fast rigorously. One day when the king was preparing state visit to another kingdom, he asked Veervati what she would want from his state journey. In reply, queen Veervati said she wanted a pair of identical dolls to which the king agreed. Then queen Veervati started humming a song that went as “ Roli ki Goli ho gayi... Goli ki Roli ho gayi”, meaning queen has turned into a maid and the maid has turned into a queen. When the king enquired why she kept repeating the song, Veervati told the whole story. The king felt sorry and re-instated Veervati as his queen.
Legends revolving around Karva Chouth
Queen Veervati, the only sister of seven brothers, came to her parent's house to celebrate her first Karva Chauth. She followed the ritual of observing fast after sunrise and was keenly awaiting the appearance of moon. In mid-way, she developed strong craving for food and water. Seeing her anguish, her brothers placed a mirror in a peepal tree that made it look like a moon. Queen Veervati mistook the mirror for moon and ended her fast. Soon after this, a message arrived that her husband had died. Inconsolable, Queen rushed back to her husband's house. Along the way, Lord Shiva and his consort, Parvati appeared before her and told her that she had been deceived by her brothers. Queen then pleaded for forgiveness. Shiva and Parvati assured queen that her husband would be brought back to life only when she observes strict fast ritual. This time Queen followed the ritual strictly and was able to redeem her husband's life from death.
The Legend Of Satyavan and Savitri
This legend entails the story of a strong-willed woman Savitri, who fought with destiny to bring her husband back to life. Lord Yama came to the door of Savitri looking for Satyavan's soul, as he completed his time on earth. Savitri pleaded for her husband's life. When Yama begged off the request, Savitri ceased to take any food and water. Yama then pledged to grant her any wish except the life of her husband. Savitri then requested Yama to bless her with children. Since Savitri was a devoted wife who would never allow any other man to be father of her children, Yama had no other option but to bring back the life of her husband.
The Legend From Mahabharata
In Mahabharata, at one time Arjuna had left for Nilgiris and in his absence, Pandava brothers faced lot of troubles. Draupadi sought help from Lord Krishna where he advised her to observe Karva Chauth citing tales of Shiva and Parvati. Draupadi followed the instructions of Lord Krishna by observing Karva Chauth. Finally, Pandavas were able to get rid of the problems.
The Legend Of Karva
This legend entails the story of devoted Karva, who was bestowed with special powers because the deep love towards her husband. Once, her husband was seized by crocodile while taking bath on the banks of river. Karva rushed to the river and tied the crocodile with cotton yarn and pleaded Yama (the Lord of death) to send the crocodile to hell. When Yama refused, she warned that she would curse Yama. Knowing about her special powers, Yama relented and sent the crocodile to hell. Thus Karva was able to reunite with her loving husband.
Rituals of Karva Chouth Puja
- Women start their preparations for the puja, the day prior to the festival. They buy shringars (adornments), puja items, henna, matti (powdery mus), etc. well in advance. They have their food before sunrise, put mehendi(henna) on their hand and feet and visit their friends and family.
- In the evening, all the women gather at a common place either at someone's house, temple or garden, wherever the Puja is arranged. The legend of Karva Chauth is then narrated by an elderly women. During this gathering, a special mud pot is kept to symbolize lord Ganesh. An idol of Goddess Parvati, fruits, flowers and food grains to offer to the deities are also placed at the puja venue.
- A pitcher with water is kept at the center of the gathering. Each women carries with her a thali (plate). While listening to the Karva Chauth legends, each of the women light diyas in their thali.Once the puja is over, women pass their thali to the elder most member of the gathering, who then blesses all the others for happiness in life.
- The puja thali is otherwise known as 'baya' and contains vermilion, sacred water, dry fruits, diyas, Indian sweets, roli, earthen clay pots etc. Mostly rangoli, alpana, flowers, leaves, petals etc. are also used to decorate thali.
- On this occasion women wear heavy saris, or chunris in red, or any other bridal colors. They wear all the signs of married women, like bindi, earrings, nose pin, tika, bangles, chonp, etc.
- When the moon comes out in the evening, women see its reflection in their thalis of water or through a sieve or dupatta followed by seeing their husband. After this, they offer water or prasadto the moon and ask for blessings, prosperity and long life of their husband. Husbands then offer food to their wives,with which wives end their fast.