Karva-chauth, a north Indian festival, especially observed in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and parts of Uttar Pradesh, Karva Chauth is marked by women keeping a day-long fast for long life of their husbands.
The term ‘Karva’ means earthen pot, which symbolises peace and prosperity and ‘Chauth’ refers to ‘fourth day’.
This popular North Indian festival starts with the sargi in the morning. It’s a custom of having food before the sunrise on Karva Chauth, which includes nuts, kheer and mathri. And women are supposed to not eat or even drink for the entire day, until the moonrise.
Origin And Significance
There are a lot of stories behind the festival. One of the stories is related to Hindu epic Mahabharata. The story goes like once when Arjuna went off to the Nilgiri Mountains to pray and perform penance, but did not return for several days, his wife Draupadi sought out Lord Krishna’s assistance in desperation. Lord Krishna advised her to keep the fast of Karva Chauth for the well being of her husband and also shared about the earlier occasion, when goddess Parvati faced the similar situation and pleaded with god Shiva for help. It is believed that Lord Shiva counselled that if married women fast on the fourth day of the dark fortnight of the Kartika month to keep such problems and worries at bay. And after hearing, Draupadi kept the fast observing all its rituals carefully and soon Arjuna returned home.
Another story that goes with this custom is that in olden days, when girls were married at a very early age, they had to go live with their in-laws in another city, where everyone would be a stranger. So, to share problems they were asked to befriend another woman of similar age. Hence the festival is celebrated to relish the relationship between god friends and god sisters.