Karva Chauth Vrata October 22, 2013
Sacred fast for well-being and good fortune of the family.
In India, the sacred fast of Karva Chauth empowers the married woman with the power and grace of Shakti. Women fast for the good fortune, well-being and longevity of one’s partner. Men in gratitude wow to protect and nurture their family.
Karva Chauth is the most sacred fast as the woman goes through the entire day without any food or water till the sighting of the Moon. Fasting symbolizes the ability of purity, and being grounded and calm. Every woman must hold to the sacredness of this festivity by contemplating on the nurturing, harmonious and spiritual aspect of this festival.
Karva Chauth Celebrations
‘Saubhagyavati’ is the auspicious, joyous and happy state of womanhood. Karva Chauth reflects the abundance, prosperity, harmony and happiness of the family. The woman in Hindu dharma epitomises the form of Shakti, the Mother Goddess. She brings in prosperity in the form of Shri Lakshmi. Honoring the woman in every tradition will help sustain the well-being and harmony of the universe. It is a time of celebration symbolising the attributes of the Mother Goddess in worldly objects like gold finery, silver, red bangles, silk, henna, sindhur (mark of a married woman), flowers in the hair, ittar, incense, sweet offerings. These reflect the marital status of every woman.
At the hint of dawn we move through the rituals of purification and adorning, before partaking of food, fruits, water or milk. The rest of day no water or food is taken.
Preparations for Karva Chauth begin the previous day with the Sargi or special food items which are eaten before sunrise. Mathi or flour circular rounds with a hole in the center is kept in the Thali.
On Karva Chauth, traditionally, it is the mother who usually sends Baya or the Karva Chauth Pooja Thali which consists of the roli, kumkum (vermilion), sacred water in a kalash (small earthen pot), dry fruits like almonds, pistachio, diyas or ghee lamps, token money and sweets. After the puja, this thali is presented to the eldest member of the family who blesses the woman.
A Kalash or earthen pot is filled with sacred water. In the Kalash is placed Pancha Ratna (five pieces of different metals gold, silver, copper, brass and iron).
Mehndi or henna
Henna is considered auspicious for married women and forms an important part of Karva Chauth rituals symbolising prosperity and good luck.
Karwa Chauth Puja
Women gather together in someone’s house and perform the puja in the evening. The sacred space is decorated consecrating the murti or icon of Devi Parvati and the earthen pot with grains, flowers, incense and diyas. The diyas are lit in everyone’s Thali and the Vrata Katha or story is narrated. A part of the fruits and food grains are offered to the Mother Goddess, while the other half is served to the story teller. One must visit a temple or spend time in prayer in one’s sacred space making offerings to the Mother Goddess and Shiva Maheshvara with flowers, incense and ghee lamps. One must pray to Shri Ganesha to remove all the obstacles in our path and bestow on us the buddhi or wisdom of divine grace.
A Thali or tray is decorated for the evening ritual with a ghee lamp, an earthen pot filled with water, a sieve to view the Moon.
One eagerly awaits the rising Moon to culminate the prayers and fasting after seeking the Soma of the Moon. One is usually informed of the rising Moon as the woman must not look at the Moon directly. The Thali with the lit ghee lamp, earthen pot filled with water and sieve is taken for the puja. Viewing the Moon through the sieve or sighting its reflection in the Thali we offer water and Arati to the Moon, seeking the grace of the Soma to flow into our lives so we are able to nourish, nurture and cherish everyone around us. One must then look at the partner through the same sieve and show reverence touching his feet. The water offered to the Moon is taken to end the fast before embarking on the festivities. This is a reminder to all men to take up their responsibilities in the world of respecting and nurturing the divine feminine form.
Om Namo Parvati Patey Har Har Mahadeva
Sarva-mangal-maangalye, Shive Sarvaarth-saadhike
Sharanye-trayambake Gauri, Narayani Namo-stute