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Karva Chauth

Karva Chauth (करवाचौथ)

'Karwa Chauth' is a ritual of fasting observed by married Hindu women seeking the longevity, well-being and prosperity of their husbands. Married women keep a strict fast and do not take even a drop of water. They get up early in the morning, perform their ablutions, and wear new and festive raiment. Shiva, Parvati and their son Kartikeya are worshiped on this day along with the 10 'karwas' (earthen pots) filled with sweets. The Karwas are given to daughters and sisters along with gifts.
 
Karva Chauth (Hindi: करवा चौथ) is a one-day festival celebrated by Hindu women in North India in which married women fast from sunrise to moonrise for the safety and longevity of their husbands. It is the most important and difficult fast observed by married Hindu women.
 
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. At night when the moon appears, women break their fast after offering water to the moon.
 
In the evening, women dress up in special clothes, usually a red or pink sari or 'lehenga-choli' with gold woven 'zari' patterns. New brides often wear their bridal costume. All deck up in jewelry and wear 'mehendi' or henna patterns especially on the hands. Decorative 'bindis' on the forehead are a must for all women taking part in this celebration. Fasting women from all over the neighborhood gather in a group and narrate mythological stories that underscore the significance of Karwa Chauth. And, of course, all wives expect lavish gifts from their husbands!
 
Karwa Chauth fasting is done during Krishna Paksha Chaturthi in the Hindu month of Kartik and according to Amanta calendar followed in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Southern India it is Ashwin month which is current during Karwa Chauth. However, it is just the name of the month which differs and in all states Karwa Chauth is observed on the same day. 
 
Karwa Chauth coincides with Sankashti Chaturthi a fasting day observed for Lord Ganesha. The fasting of Karwa Chauth and its rituals are observed by married women for the long life of their husband. Married women worship Lord Shiva and His family including Lord Ganesha and break the fast only after sighting and making the offerings to the moon. The fasting of Karwa Chauth is strict and observed without taking any food or even a drop of water after sunrise till the sighting of the moon in the night. 
 
Karwa Chauth day is also known as Karak Chaturthi (करक चतुर्थी). Karwa or Karak refers to the earthen pot through which water offering, known as Argha (अर्घ), is made to the moon. Karwa is very significant during Puja and it is also given as Dan to the Brahmin or any eligible woman. 
 
he Mantra which should be recited during Parvati Puja is –
 
"नमः शिवायै शर्वाण्यै सौभाग्यं संतति शुभाम्‌। प्रयच्छ भक्तियुक्तानां नारीणां हरवल्लभे॥"
 
It means "O beloved consort of Lord Shiva, please bestow long life of the husband and beautiful sons to your women devotees". After Goddess Gaura, Lord Shiva, Lord Kartikeya and Lord Ganesha are worshipped.
 
After Puja, Karwa should be given as charity to the Brahmin or some eligible woman. The Karwa or Karak should be filled with the water or the milk and precious stones or coins should be dropped in it. Karwa should be donated to some Brahmin or Suhagan women. The Mantra which should be chanted while donating Karwa –
 
"करकं क्षीरसम्पूर्णा तोयपूर्णमथापि वा। ददामि रत्नसंयुक्तं चिरञ्जीवतु मे पतिः॥"
 
It means "O milk filled Karwe with precious stones; I donate you, so that my husband is long lived".