Karwa Chauth, also called as ‘Karva or Karak Chaturthi’, is the pious day celebrated all over India primarily in the northern states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Gujarat and Rajasthan. On this auspicious day, women observe a day-long fast and worship Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati for ensuring the long life, well-being and prosperity of their husbands or fiancés. Karwa Chauth is celebrated with a lot of devotion and faith on the Krishna Paksha Chaturthi in the Hindu month of Kartik. This devotional day coincides with Sankashti Chaturthi, a day when devotees observe fast and worship Lord Ganesha to seek his holy blessings.
This year, Karwa Chauth will be observed on Sunday, 8th October, 2017.
Moonrise on Karwa Chauth: 08:47 PM
Chaturthi tithi begins: 07:28 AM on 8th October
Chaturthi tithi ends: 04:46 AM on 9th October
Significance of Karwa Chauth
All married women worship Goddess Parvati first as she was believed to be ‘akhand saubhagyawati’ (happily married forever) followed by worshipping Lord Shiva, Lord Kartikeya and Lord Ganesha. It is believed that observing a strict fast devoid of even a drop of water with a pure heart, mind and soul bestows longevity and happiness in the life of your husband.
Legends associated with Karwa Chauth
- Legend of Queen Veeravati : Veeravati, the only sister of seven brothers, was married to a great king. After her marriage, when Queen Veeravati kept her first Karwa Chauth fast, she came to visit her brothers who were upset at their beloved sister’s miserable state due to hunger and thirst on account of the strict fast. So, they misled her and made her beak her fast before the right time to do so. As soon as this happened, she got news of the sad demise of her husband.
She hastily set off for her husband’s home. During the journey, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati appeared before her and conveyed that the reason behind her husband’s death is that she broke the sacred fast before the auspicious Muhurat. Hearing this, Veeravati pleaded for forgiveness and resurrection of her husband. Goddess Parvati complied on a condition that she will keep Karwa Chauth first with sincerity and faith. Thereafter, the queen’s fast for the well-being of her husband made him alive again.
- Legend of Draupadi : Once, when Arjuna, the backbone of Pandavas, went to Nilgiris for penance, his brothers faced serious problems in his absence. This distressed Draupadi who was advised by Lord Krishna to observe a day long Karwa Chauth fast for the everlasting happiness of her husbands. Hence, Draupadi kept a strict fast with pious heart and utmost devotion, which dispelled the darkness from her husbands’ lives.
- Legend of Savitri : After her husband’s death, when Lord Yama, the God of Death, came to take his soul along, Savitri requested to grant him life again. To this, Lord Yama refused and Savitri being adamant stopped eating and drinking in lieu of her husband’s demise. Savitri’s devotion for her husband which even made her sacrifice food and water, finally melted the Lord’s heart and he granted her dead husband a second chance to live. With this started the practice of observing the day-long Karwa Chauth for the long life of husband.
Rituals Observed on this Karwa Chauth
- Married Hindu women take early morning bath before sunrise and have sargi, the fast meal that includes pheni (a sweet made using milk and semolina), paranthas and varied variety of fruits.
- Married ladies vow to observe a day-long fast with the following mantra:
shree prapye karak chaturthi vratmaham karishye”
- Women pray for the longevity, well-being and happiness of their husbands all day, while being empty stomach, that is, without consuming food or even a drop of water.
- In the evening, women dress up in clothes gifted by their mother-in-laws and gather in temples to worship Lord Shiva, his consort Goddess Parvati and their sons Lord Kartikeya and Lord Ganesha. Karwa Chauth Puja starts on a specific shubh muhurat with the chanting of the following Mantra:
prayach bhaktiyuktanam narinam harvallabhe”
- During the Karwa Chauth Puja, ten earthen pots are worshipped. These pots are called ‘Karwa’ and are filled with milk or water and precious stones. After the Puja, these Karwa pots are then distributed among Brahmins to seek their holy blessings. The mantra chanted while offering Karwas to the Brahmins is as follows:
dadaami ratnasanyuktam chiranjivatu mei patih”
- Later at night, the women wait for the moon to rise. They worship the moon and then break their fast with the hands of their respective husbands.